CHICAGO – It is a very busy workday for employees in Misericordia’s coffee program.
They will spend several hours weighting, measuring, and grinding coffee for Columbia Street Roastery.
The program employs more than three dozen adults with developmental disabilities, working in two shifts every day Monday through Friday.
From a small room with just a couple of workers to a full twice daily work schedule, John Herriott has watched Champaign-based Columbia Street Roastery’s work with Misericordia grow substantially in the last four years.
He is here every day, making sure his company’s orders get filled and out the door.
“We ship up coffee every Monday, Tuesday after we roast it over the weekend based on our order on our wholesale accounts around Chicago. And either from 5lb bags to 10oz bags ground specifically for the equipment we provide for each account and they just go to work,” he says.
Close to a thousand pounds of coffee flows through this room every week, a number which increased significantly just one year ago when the Hilton Oak Brook Hills Resort ditched one of the big name brands and turned to Herriott.
Chef Sean Curry is picking up the 250 pounds the Hilton will go through next week.
“We want to have more meaning than just making money.. The world is a big place and we want to do what we can for our kids and the next generation and i think it’s important to give back to the people who are helping us sustain our business,” says Curry.
The coffee program is one of the most coveted positions at Misericordia.
There is a lot of love and laughter in this room, as well as learning.
One employee WGN spoke to said she loved working at the roastery.
“It helps build many skills math skills are very important so you’re core skills as well as social skills because everyone is working as team. But it also gives them self a sense of honor and pride because they’re actually working for something that goes out into the community and they see where that goes,” says Curry.
“It’s such a pleasure the culture here is fantastic you know it’s such a warm, genuine welcome and they want to be a part of what we’re doing. And treat me as such and it’s been a pleasure to work with these guys, says Herriott.
To find out more about the program, check out: