The Minimum that Becomes the Maximum

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Refuge Coffee Co. | The Minimum that Becomes the Maximum
Refuge Coffee Co. | The Minimum that Becomes the Maximum
Photo Credit: Tom Griscom

Someone once called Refuge out for doing “the bare minimum.”

To be honest, my first thought was, “Heck, yes, we do the bare minimum.”

I know that phrase denotes doing the least possible, but what if the most we can do is never enough? Sometimes what needs to be done in our neighborhood and in the rest of our world is so overwhelming, our best efforts add up to the bare minimum. 

When we started Refuge, we knew we’d need a clear mission… our very personal, focused “bare minimum.” That’s what a mission statement is, right? But even once we narrowed our mission down to job training, it still felt bigger than we had the wherewithal to conquer. I remember wondering, “How can we work so hard, so many hours, with so much passion, and still have so much left to do?” That first year, I heard the founder of a much more mature organization with a much bigger impact than Refuge say, “We had to learn to be content with being incomplete.” That was hard to swallow, but I get it now.

Engaging people with hope and dignity takes consistent, practical, loving, and human effort. This effort – whether it’s loving our own family or loving the stranger – requires a maximum level of energy, resources, and time. And that maximum never feels like it’s enough. Leaning into a people-mission could keep us up at night, could make us all unbalanced work-aholics, could make each of us feel like utter failures, and could make most of our words take the form of an apology.

But here’s the thing. There are a lot of people out there doing their own struggling minimum, and all of those minimums add up to more, a whole lot more. Alone, we’re incomplete. Together, it’s a different story.

It’s all of us that make each one of us not give up.

This is why we love pooling our small efforts with the larger efforts of others. Like our yearly Shop Refuge event where we raise money to support needs outside of our own.  In the past, we’ve sent half of the proceeds to support refugees in Iraq, Syria, Congo, and Rohingyan refugees in Bangladesh. In 2020, we sent the full amount to two organizations serving the homeless in downtown Atlanta and those in need of rent assistance in Clarkston.

When you support Refuge, whether with a monthly or a one-time gift, you enable us to empower our refugee neighbors not only through job training and, through events like Shop Refuge, but you help us all to invest generously in the world. We’re grateful for every gift you give.

Our team is committed to doing the maximum best with our minimum.

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