It is no secret to her family and friends that Amanda Becker loves coffee.

Becker, a junior at CUAA, had a desire to find the best brews in town, so she decided to culture herself in the coffee offerings of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. What she did not know is that her exploration would lead her to a community that filled her heart more than her love for “Joe”.

As she sat down for dinner recently at a popular restaurant in Ypsilanti, she saw a coffee shop out the window that she had not yet tried. Cultivate Coffee and Taphouse looked inviting, and she decided to give it a try.

“Right away when I walked through the door, I was greeted and one of the employees named Christian began talking to me,” said Becker.

Christian went on to share with Becker the mission of Cultivate and that they were a non-profit organization whose profits go toward ending hunger in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area. They do this by partnering with other area non-profits working directly toward this cause, such as Growing Hope and Food Gatherers.

Becker, 21, from Lansing, Michigan, knew right away this was a cause she wanted to be a part of.

“I completed a volunteer application that very first day,” she said.

Becker says that volunteering at Cultivate is bigger than her love of coffee. She has gone on to not only be vested in the cause of the organization, but has found connection with the people that run the establishment.

“The people at Cultivate have truly become another base of community for me,” said Becker. “I go there and have people that know me, listen to me, and give me guidance and perspective.”

Becker encourages her fellow classmates to plug into something that is bigger than themselves. She recognizes that college is a special time of life, different than any other stage.

“College is a time when we have a lot of big decisions to make. The more experiences and perspectives we can gather to navigate those decisions, the better.”

Editor’s note: This is the final in a series of stories written for Concordia’s inaugural Week of Service, March 12-20, which seeks to lift up the ways the CU community is serving and inspire others to follow suit. Read more here.