A mission team, composed of eight, travel in a country that experiences conditions most cannot imagine. They arrive to the sight of kids happily playing with a soccer ball in wet and muddy dirt. The kids are excited to see the mission group who has travelled to paint their home, an orphanage. The excitement on the kids’ faces make them forget the conditions and they truly understand the reason they are there: to make life better for those less fortunate.
“It’s like we see, you know, just the ways that people can pour into children and the difference that makes for their future.”Julia Williams
Russell and Julia Williams of Dalhart, Texas, are more than just farmers and coffee shop owners. In fact, the story of their life together began in Washington D.C, where they were both working at the time.
Russell is originally from Farwell, Texas, where he grew up on the family farm. Upon graduating from Texas Tech University in 2002, Russell moved to Washington D.C. where he worked for the House Agriculture Committee, worked for a U.S. Senator, and later was a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Association.
Julia grew up in Dripping Springs, Texas, and graduated from Texas Christian University. After majoring in political science, Julia also moved to Washington D.C. where she worked for the National Association for Federally Impacted Schools and a nonprofit organization that focused on healthcare in Africa.
In 2010, the couple got married and headed back to Texas to continue farming. The farm expanded to Dalhart, so Russell and Julia made the move to take on the new farm. To adjust to life in a new community, they looked to their faith to get involved. Russell said through their church they were able to find a new passion.
“We were in a new community,” Russell said. “And we started getting involved with churches when we found a church we liked.”
When their pastor approached them about a program that raises money for missions using coffee as a source of funding, they could not pass it up. Julia said she had always wanted to own and run a coffee shop of her own but did not know what that would look like.
“There was my background of wanting a coffee shop,” Julia said, “so we jumped all over the project, helped launch it, and then have carried it forward since then.”
It was a mission trip to Thailand that sealed their passion to create sustainable funding for child wellness. The mission trip took them to several orphanages that provide shelter, clothes, food, education and so much more to children who were left with nothing.
“It was eye opening just to see these kids happy and playing,” Russel said, “just loving life and being happy to have, you know, this group of people who cared about them that much.”
In 2015, after their mission trip, they began roasting coffee sourced from Thailand. A year later, in September 2016, they opened a coffee shop in Dalhart. The coffee company was named Purpose Coffee Co., which represented their mission.
“It can mean a number of different things to different people,” Russell said.
They sell their coffee to churches and businesses, allowing those groups to sell the coffee to serve as a greater purpose in the community. For example, a special blend named Texas Strong was developed and sold to aide those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“We’ll do large orders for church groups,” Russell said, “and we allow them to sell our coffee as long as it has an impact in the community.”
The Williams said they wanted to focus on child wellness organizations because they had been exposed to the large amounts of poverty in other parts of the world. They said it was important to them to provide sources of sustainability in other countries, especially to children. The Williams said they were experiencing infertility struggles during this endeavor, but felt like they were always meant to have and help kids.
“We both felt like we were called to have kids and maybe it wasn’t our own kids but maybe it was helping kids through Purpose Coffee,” Julia said.
The Williams were blessed with their son, Whitaker, in 2016, the same year they opened the Purpose Coffee Co. store front.
“It’s kind of like we’ve been raising our child and the coffee shop at the same time,” Julia said.
Julia said becoming parents helped them understand the impact people can truly have on a child’s life.
“It’s like we see, you know, just the ways that people can pour into children and the difference that makes for their future,” Julia said.
Russell said it is challenging to be a full-time famer and small business owner. They said there is not a lot of balance between the two ventures, but he stays focused on the purpose that fuels their passion.
“We just have to keep our eye on what the purpose is and why we’re doing it” Russell said. “It’s a passion knowing that I’m putting something that God gave me to use to help other people.”
Looking to the future, the Williams said they would like to see more growth in partnerships and wholesales to businesses that want to share a greater purpose.
“It’s so special to have these other businesses see our model and want to duplicate that all around the country,” Julia said. “The purpose has always been the primary thing and the coffee is kind of secondary.”
The Williams said it has always been about thinking globally and acting locally. They said they want to continue to inspire others through Purpose Coffee Co., and they hope to see more people impassioned by global causes not just child wellness.