With a recent two-year anniversary under its belt, Sip of Hope Coffee Bar (3039 W. Fullerton Ave.) continues to support suicide prevention and mental health education, all while surviving the economic downturn of COVID-19.
The mission-driven cafe, which donates 100% of its proceeds to parent mental health-education organization Hope for the Day, reopened its doors for to-go orders earlier in June. After shutting down completely mid-March per the governor’s orders, the store placed a collection of its ever-present mental health resources in a folder on its door on March 16. Eventually, the shop opened a sidewalk window for pickup orders.
“We Did It!”
Economic fallout from the coronavirus shutdowns hit the store hard over those months, though, and Sip of Hope met those challenges with community fundraising. “WE DID IT! WE SAVED SIP OF HOPE! $60,303 raised in just ONE WEEK, THANK YOU!” the cafe announced May 7. “This wouldn’t be possible without the support of so many amazing community members!”
Sip of Hope launched with a mission of donating 100% of its proceeds to support proactive suicide prevention and mental health education, in a collaboration including founder Jonny Boucher, Dark Matter Coffee and Hope for the Day. Since opening in May 2018 the cafe has distributed over 65,000 mental health resources, the shop said on Facebook.
Hope For the Day is a nonprofit movement founded in 2011 by Illinois native Boucher with the mission of empowering the community to engage in proactive suicide prevention and mental health education. Boucher became an advocate for mental health education after losing 16 friends and family members to suicide. In its first year of business, Sip of Hope earned the title of best cup of coffee in Logan Square in LoganSquarist’s reader poll.
During its community-fundraising effort, Sip of Hope brought in over $65,000, outstripping the shop’s initial $60,000 goal.
The money has gone toward alleviating the financial pressure the business faced during the shelter-in-place order.
Pritzker and Obama Love It Too
Beyond its renown among locals, Sip of Hope has garnered support from various household names in both Chicago and the nation. As the shop celebrated its two-year anniversary during May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker shouted out the organization’s work.
“It’s okay not to be okay. There are resources to help you,” Pritzker said in a Facebook post, with the governor pictured holding a bag of Sip of Hope beans. “If you’re experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19, please take advantage of the state’s free Call4Calm emotional support program. Text TALK or HABLAR to 552020 to speak with a mental health professional today.”
Pritzker also praised the shop during his first visit, back in 2018.
“I visited Sip of Hope Coffee Bar to learn more about their suicide-prevention efforts and the work they do to raise awareness about mental health,” he said. “Their mission is inspiring, and their hard work is life-saving. I’m proud to see the staff fighting for these important causes.”
Sip of Hope also caught the attention of former President Barack Obama. In late 2018, he included Sip of Hope in a tweet about people he found inspirational because of their work to change their communities for the better.
Obama later said, “I hope you find inspiration in the[se] stories … Their journeys began with a decision to build the better future they wanted to see. The same is true for you. What matters isn’t the size of the step you take; what matters is that you take it.”
As of June 8, Sip of Hope is officially open for business, serving the neighborhood’s favorite cup of coffee, both hot drip and draft cold brew, as well as bags and cans available to go.
For those in need of mental health resources, you can reach the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) national suicide prevention hotline 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Reach NAMI-Chicago’s Helpline at 833-NAMI-CHI (833-626-4244), available 9 a.m.-8 p.m. M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sa-Su. You can also get referred to the Helpline via 311.
Featured photo: Tom Vlodek