Overflow Coffee sets up Shoppe in Skidaway Community Church’s parking lot

Even those unfamiliar with bible books by name probably know most of Psalm 23. The six verses, beginning with “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,” are among the most widely repeated and memorized the world over and are David’s song of gratitude for God’s eternal care.

In the New American Standard Bible, the fifth verse reads, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.”

These are the literal words that inspired the creation of Overflow Coffee and the immaculate construction of the not-so-tiny tiny house that is tucked back in the picturesque parking lot of Skidaway Community Church (SCC).

Though the structure itself was built by May of 2022, the ‘shoppe’ opened for business just this past February, and SCC held a celebratory grand opening event on April 6 to herald the “Skidaway Island haven for lovers of coffee, gelato, and artisan sweets.”

The true story of Overflow Coffee is not the what but the why, a modern-day parable of serving others, one cup at a time.

COFFEE WITH A PURPOSE

Three-plus years ago, the SCC’s session, the presbytery’s governing body, was discussing the church’s future.

“At the time, we were a presbyterian church, and we decided that we wanted to go back to our original name, which was Skidaway Community Church,” recalled Lynne Kaley, a session member who relocated to Savannah in 2014. “We wanted to be more involved in the surrounding community.”

While remaining affiliated with the Savannah Presbytery, the name was changed, and the conversation turned to how the church would evolve its mission.

“The name is symbolic,” Kaley said. “The change in behavior was what we really wanted to drive.”

Ultimately, SCC’s session came up with the idea to use its empyreal property “more effectively,” and Kaley posited out loud, “What are the things that make the people in The Landings come out?”

She said that she got some funny looks before she answered her own rhetorical: “Food and drink.”

Her conception was a coffee house on the church grounds, a “gathering place with a selfless heartbeat” whose purpose was to bring people together and whose proceeds would wholly benefit those in need.

Even though she had no prior professional food-and-beverage experience, Kaley offered to make the investment with the understanding that the business would run as a church operation. Thus, Overflow Coffee was born.“Overflow Coffee actually is a ministry for the Skidaway Community Church and an outreach,” Kaley explained of the third-party enterprise. “Basically, we carry all of the expenses and invoice against the income.”


Whatever is left goes to Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia and the Tiny House Project.“All profits, 100 percent, from this coffee shop go toward those charities,” she said. “We haven’t made a profit yet, but we hope that when folks know what we’re about, they’ll say, ‘Hey, that’s a good thing!’”

PUTTING THE ‘HOUSE’ IN COFFEE HOUSE
The trailer was delivered Thanksgiving week 2021, and the house was built onsite “from the ground up” and was nearly ready to roll (figuratively) by the following May.

Under the shifting shade steps from the church’s main structure and just off of Skidaway Island Park Road stands a pristine white board-and-batten house atop a trailer bed, a striped awning shading its service window.

Even from the outside, what could be called a tiny house belies the descriptor with a 120-square-foot footprint and nearly a second story in a wide-open and airy interior.

“It’s pretty roomy in there,” Kaley said. “Everybody who walks in says, ‘Wow! It’s really nice in here!’”

“We designed it like a clean shop,” she added. “Most mobile food trucks don’t have HVAC, and we do. It’s climate controlled.”The designs were purchased and downloaded from the web, and the construction phase was a relatively quick one, though the next year and a half were spent obtaining all of the necessary permitting and paperwork, which included the church itself rezoning its property.

“Because we are permitted as mobile, we can go anywhere we want,” Kaley said, though moving the sizable house off the island is a logistical challenge.

For the foreseeable future, Overflow Coffee will call the SCC’s greenspace and lot canopied by live oak trees home as Kaley and her crew hope to realize the “original intention” to create a place where “people [will] come to hang out.” The games, live music, and community activities are yet to materialize, but that next phase only makes sense.

She has another vision: a renovated horse trailer that would be Overflow Coffee: Book 2, if you will, a more moveable conveyance that might rekindle the mobile ministry objective.“I would still like to do that, but I wanted to get this up and running first,” said Kaley, a semi-retired corrosion engineer who has spent more than 40 years working in the oil and gas industry.

TURNING WATER INTO COFFEE

Overflow Coffee is permitted to serve coffee, tea, beverages, soft-serve ice cream, and shaved ice, and Kaley came up with the majority of the menu items, all of which are available for drive-up takeaway or online ordering.

Fifteen coffee-based beverages include the usual suspects of lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, and frappes, both hot and cold, and several non-bean drinks round out an ample menu of chais, hot chocolates, matchas, and teas.All of Overflow’s beans are sourced from Cup-to-Cup.

“We wanted to use someone local, and we connected with James Spano,” Kaley said. “His coffee is really good.”

“It’s great because he has a coffee shop, too, so he’s a good resource in general,” she added.

Auspicious Bakery Co. provides the café’s provisions, which means that Skidaway Island residents can still have their favorite pastries on Mondays and Tuesdays when Auspicious’s retail HQ in the Shops at Sandfly is closed.

Thus far, the ice cream treats have not been big sellers, but once word gets out this summer, island denizens will surely walk, bike, or golf-cart to Overflow and spare themselves the long drive over the Diamond Causeway.

Kaley praised her staff of four that runs Overflow, saying, “They love serving people, and they love making coffee.”

David might not have been thinking about coffee all those years ago, but here is Psalm 23: right next to a “house of the Lord,” near a “green pasture” and not far from “still waters,” cups are filled at Overflow Coffee, serving others in the name of benefiting Savannahians experiencing food and housing insecurities. What a wonderful mission.

Overflow Coffee (50 Diamond Causeway at Skidaway Community Church) is open Monday through Saturday (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

     
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