An errand reminds of purpose and hope

This last week, Kim and I ran some errands and one took us to a local pet store. As we approached the storefront, I noticed a young man crouched near the entrance and he was begging for support. I shook it off yet noted his youth and despair. As we shopped, the thought of the young man kept tugging at my spirit. We concluded our business and left the store.

As we walked back to the car the young man shouted, “Have a nice night”. I took another look back at him and announced to Kim that I thought God wanted me to talk to the youth. I went over and began an exchange with him. His name is John. He is 17 and left his home and was homeless. His story is tragic yet similar to many we serve.0921a15 001

John ran away from home and shared that his mom was having sex with men and doing drugs. This is a common theme for young men in the “system”. They run from trouble and usually to get in more trouble. John had been on the streets and with friends for 4 days. He left on Christmas eve. I asked him what he needed and he said food. I instructed him to wait for me to return and that we would help.

I got back to the car and shared the story with Kim. We drove home and I grabbed a back pack and stuffed it with jackets, a beanie, a scarf, and gloves. We also packed a bag of food and drinks. When then went back and found John wandering in the parking lot. He saw our car and came over.

I gave John everything and asked about his plans. We made sure he had a place to be safe that night. I asked him if he wanted our help finding a home. He said he wanted nothing to do with foster care and was waiting to turn eighteen so he could start his own life. We prayed with him and let him know that God has a plan for him … a plan for good and not evil. He gave us a hug and we said our goodbyes. We watched him walk off into the night.

I share this story with you to recount how God used the encounter to remind Kim and I about the “why” behind what we do. God has a purpose for each of us. We feel we are living ours in serving foster youth, the downtrodden and outcasts. In front of a pet store, we gave from our heart and it felt good. We attempt to live this at Covenant in a culture of lack and inferior resources. Yet, God still moves. How many more “Johns” are out there that are in need?

The encounter with John reminded me of a message I shared long ago about a woman in the Bible that wanted to bless someone. A man told her, “What do you have in the house?”. You see, giving and serving isn’t about dreams and wishes. No, it is about action. When you see a need, simply respond with what you have. Nothing more is required.

Friend, I share this with you as it was a great reminder to our family to give from what we have and not the desire or wish for what we do not have. My challenge to you is this: Give. Find an organization, a person or a group and give your best as you end 2015 and begin 2016. There are many “Johns” out there in need of your help.

The Lord bless you richly in 2016!

If you would like to support our work at Covenant send your financial gift to 1700 North Chester, Bakersfield, CA 93308 and we will credit the donation to 2015 if you send it soon with the date of 12/31/2015. If you desire to give online, go to and click “donate” on the bottom of the page. You can also come into Covenant Coffee and give your check to our staff. If you don’t give to Covenant, find someone or something to bless as you end 2015!

Hope lives here
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11


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Thanks again for making a difference!

For King and Kingdom,
Randy Martin and the Covenant Team

Nonprofit serving foster youth wins Green Award

Covenant Community Services, a Kern County nonprofit organization serving foster children and former foster youth,  was awarded the Kern Green Sustainable Purchasing Award at the Kern Green Awards Banquet held at Cal State Bakersfield.

kern green 2015

The award to Covenant Coffee was in the category of Sustainable Purchasing was for paying a fair price to coffee farmers, repurposing metal and wood for brew equipment and furnishings, and purchasing paper goods that are sustainably sourced. In all Covenant programs, the organization seeks to recycle, repurpose, and reuse whenever feasible. This award is a testament to the actions of a nonprofit that does good with youth and the environment.

Here is a quote from Kern Green’s founder and the event organizer, Sasha Windes. “The 2015 Kern Green Awards Banquet was a great success thanks to all of our sponsors and volunteers.  It was a beautiful evening at California State University, Bakersfield. Attendees of the event enjoyed a delicious dinner with produce donated by local farmers and prepared by Borda Petite. The event provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate the many organizations and individuals who work each day to improve the environment of Kern County.”fall-covenant-pics_22253583335_o

The award was received by Zachary Martin, Covenant Coffee’s Roastmaster, and Balinda Amavisca, a barista at Covenant Coffee. Covenant Coffee also provided coffee to attendees at the event.

About Covenant Coffee: Covenant Coffee is a social enterprise of Covenant Community Services, Inc. Covenant Coffee was established in 2010 to provide vocational training, employment, and mentoring to former foster youth. Covenant Coffee roasts responsibly sourced green coffee from around the world and roasts the coffee at their North Chester location in Bakersfield, California. Learn more at

Coming Soon to the Ford Theater: Covenant Coffee House


062315 011Covenant is excited to announce the expansion of service to Shafter, California. Here is the back-story. In May of 2013, Larry Starrh reached out to Covenant Coffee inquiring about a partnership to launch a coffee house in Shafter, California. The Starrh Family has been in Shafter for many generations. They purchased the old Ford Dealership and converted the building into a theater and desired a coffee house for the community.

081615 022The vision of the Starrh’s was a theater and cultural center where arts, music and cultural events could be held and the folks from Shafter could have a place to enjoy and call their own. The vision has become a reality and the beautiful Ford Theater is now operational. It is hard to imagine a mechanics shop and industrial site where there is now a stage and beautiful theater. Soon, there will be a coffee house to enjoy as well.

Coffee and the arts have always been a partnership. Covenant Coffee is blessed to have the Starrh Family as patrons of the cause and coffee. As I type, construction is underway and the coffee house is weeks from becoming a reality. But, we still have great needs to be met to make it happen.

ford theaterThe the vision of the combined efforts of Covenant Coffee and the Starrh Family is hope in a cup. The Starrh’s have stepped up with a generous build-out of the coffee house and have placed their stamp of artistic creation on the shop. It is going to be a thing of beauty. The theme of rustic wood, industrial metal and modern design will play out in the shop and blend greatly with the hand-crafted coffee that will be served.

Covenant Coffee will bring our former foster youth staff to the For Theater endeavor with an artistic flair to the art of coffee beverage creation. From our Siphon Tower Cold Brew System to Nitro infused drip coffee to our hand crafted espresso drinks, Covenant staff will provide Shafter with a high quality coffee experience. Our team is also excited to bring our freshly roasted beans and high-quality coffee to the Shafter locals and our faithful following on Yelp.

0921a15 001You can help employ and mentor over 12 (twelve) former foster youth by giving to make this endeavor and vision become reality. We still need finances to purchase equipment and place the finishing touches on the construction. At this point, we have raised nearly $30,000.00 towards the goal of $100,000.00 so we can enter Shafter debt-free. Can you help make this happen? Will you give to provide a job and training to former foster youth?

Please consider a tax-deductible donation that will help us purchase the needed equipment and supplies. You can send your donation to Covenant Coffee, 1700 N Chester Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93308. Designate Shafter on the check and we will know where to allocate your gift. You can also give online by using the “Donate Now” link on this page.

Below, we have compiled a needs list of equipment and other items necessary to open. We understand that you may not be in a place to give a large donation but we know some can. Please give as you are able and help us provide hope to former foster youth and great coffee in Shafter, California.  Thank you for providing hope in a cup!

Needs List

  • Retail Sponsor (200 needed) = $25.00 for retail coffee and apparel items for the opening – total needed = $5,000.00
  • Mixer Sponsors (50 needed) = $50.00 for syrups, sauces and mixes for blended drinks and coffee drinks – total needed = $2,500.00
  • Small Ware Sponsors (10 needed) = $100.00 for items that will be used to make drinks – total needed = $1,000.00
  • Creature Comfort Sponsors (25 needed) = $250.00 for a sound system, furnishings, decor – total needed = $6,250.00
  • Brew Time Sponsors (4 needed) = $1,000.00 for coffee brewing equipment – total needed = $4,000.00
  • It’s’ a Grind Sponsors (4 needed) = $1,500.00 for grinding equipment for drink creation and bagged coffee sales – total needed = $6,000.00
  • Kitchen Sponsors (2 needed) = $2,000.00 for kitchen equipment to make sandwiches, muffins and scones – total needed = $4,000.00
  • Chill Out Sponsors (3 needed) = $3,000.00 for refrigeration equipment – total needed = $9,000.00
  • Drive-Thru Sponsor (2 needed) = $5,000.00 for drive thru equipment, and work-station – total needed = $10,000.00
  • Machine Sponsors (2 needed) = $10,000.00 for purchase of espresso machines – total needed = $20,000.00

Hope Lives Here! Restoring Lives and Transforming Generations