A local man has helped dream up a way for coffee lovers to support the pro-life cause every time they enjoy a cup o’ joe.
Ched Salasek, a St. Thomas the Apostle parishioner, is co-founder of Lifeboat Coffee. With every purchase of the company’s coffee or tea, buyers can designate a pro-life organization to receive a $1 donation.
“It’s safe to say a majority of people love coffee and we do have a lot of options out there,” Salasek said. “Unfortunately, many of those options support a culture of death.”
Starbucks in particular has come under fire in recent years for its financial support of Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortion in the United States. The company has also been an unabashed advocate of same-sex marriage.
“As family men and lovers of coffee, we wanted to do something to build up a culture of life,” Salasek said. “That’s why we started Lifeboat Coffee.”
John Lillis, who also helped launch Lifeboat Coffee last November, said the company was born out of an epiphany he had about the need for pro-life groups to become self-sufficient. Reaction to Lifeboat Coffee’s efforts so far has been overwhelmingly positive, he said.
“The gist of their comments is, ‘Why didn’t we think of this sooner?’” Lillis said. Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told Lillis he thought it was a great idea.
“Coffee is the second-most traded commodity after petroleum,” Lillis said. “It’s bizarre how much coffee is out there.”
Lillis, who was adopted and has spent years working in the pro-life movement, said the idea to create Lifeboat Coffee came to him while he was working to establish a pro-life radio station in Sioux City, Iowa. While remodeling the pregnancy center that shares space with the radio station, it occurred to him that millions of people drink coffee. Why not drink it to support the pro-life cause?
“This company was founded to do good for these pro-life groups,” Lillis said. “We are a Catholic company by design. We find that saving souls is the ultimate pro-life work.”
The sanctity of life ministry at St. Joseph Parish and 1st Way Pregnancy Center have both been chosen by customers to receive donations from Lifeboat Coffee. Organizations that are designated by customers will receive a check at the end of the year
Salasek said that people can order several varieties of coffee and tea on the company’s website, www.lifeboatcoffee.com. They can also become an affiliate.
Affiliates are organizations that agree to place Lifeboat Coffee’s logo on their website and other communication tools such as social media and newsletters. When supporters of the affiliate click on the Lifeboat logo and purchase a bag of coffee or tin of tea, $1 is donated back to the affiliate by Lifeboat.
“It’s an easy way to funnel money back to the pro-life cause,” Salasek said.
Both Lillis and Salasek said their hope is to eventually establish coffee shops where patrons can enjoy their java and help build a culture of life.
“People are saying it’s some of the best coffee they’ve ever had,” Salasek said. With varieties such as Pumpkin Spice, San Francisco French Roast and Minty Mocha among others, the orders are steady. The company also features a variety of teas, mugs and T-shirts.