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Our mission is to walk with women beyond the boundaries of poverty and neglect and assist them in finding their purpose.

ABOUT MY CUP OF TEA

My Cup of Tea is a non-profit, social enterprise located in the heart of Orange Mound, considered the oldest African American community in America. We import the highest quality tea from tea estates and gardens in the Far East to The House at Orange Mound, where it is weighed, re-formatted, and packaged for sale by women who impact the historic neighborhood.

Their lives are stabilized and dignified through training and purposeful work. Resources for personal and professional growth are included daily to enable them to provide for their families and serve their community.

Your purchase online or at one of our local retailers opens a pathway for positive change, upward mobility, and pride for the courageous women who prepare our tea. You can also directly donate to My Cup of Tea. 

What Customers Are Saying:

★★★★★
"So glad I took the time and found the time to drive over there. Lovely, lovely lovely."
Linda G.
★★★★★
"Excellent tea and great location in the orange mound community. The founders Mr. Richard and Mrs. Carey More have created a world class operation benefiting women in the community while proving a high quality tea product."
Dwayne J.
★★★★★
"It's more than a tea shop; it's a teaching facility/family for many women! They sell teas of all kinds and have entrepreneurial classes to empower women to change or enhance their lives. Please visit and patronize."
Dr. R.
★★★★★
"This is a GEM of a place. The staff is nice, friendly and knowledgeable of the product. This need to be you go-to place all things tea."
Keeling A.
★★★★★
"I ordered tea from this shop for the first time. The caramel tea was just what I was looking for. It was just like the tea I bought in Poland."
Susie E.
★★★★★
"Absolutely wonderful organization and outstanding tea. I cannot stop talking about this place to my family and friends. If you are in Memphis this is a must visit. My good friend Cheryl will be there to greet you with a smile."
Valisa G.
★★★★★
"These ladies are passionate about what they do and always eager to please and to share their life journey. And the tea is spectacular! I think I've tried most of them, but I'll return often to be sure I don't miss a single one. Right now I'm obsessed with the camomile, so pure it will help you sleep peacefully all night long!"
Melissa K.
★★★★★
"Always a great experience! Plus a great community program. I went for honey sticks and left with 4 packs of those, an infuser, and a mug."
KB M.
★★★★★
"Awesome tea, inspirational ministry that empowers women!"
Rebecca E.
Going Deep

Going Deep

A nonprofit organization’s mission is truly only as powerful as its ability to finance the strategies and tactics necessary to achieve it.

This is not a fundraising appeal, so please keep reading.

For My Cup of Tea, a substantial amount of revenue comes from the sale of our high-quality tea and related products, but for now the majority comes from grants and donations. Like virtually all nonprofits in town, we compete for the charitable donations of private foundations, government programs, and our community’s top private employers. We have been blessed to receive the support of many of these organizations.

One of the challenges faced by My Cup of Tea is communicating a narrative which demonstrates a broad impact on hundreds or thousands of individuals and their communities. Understandably, even the largest philanthropic groups have finite resources to support enormous, complex needs and want to know the masses are being reached with viable solutions. In this data-driven age, funders want to know about our KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and our quantitative and qualitative analyses that prove their money will make a difference.

This is not an unreasonable request. So, recently we tried to quantify our impact over the last decade with meaningful data. We learned that My Cup of Tea has:

  • Paid approximately $2 Million in wages;
  • Provided 125,000 hours or so of dignified work; and
  • Served 25,000 meals through the generosity of volunteers.

We were even a little surprised at how sizeable the numbers are, and we are thankful. But our mission is about much more than width. It is also about depth.

As the Apostle Paul notes in his prayer for the Ephesians in verses 17-18, God’s love for us is more than just wide.

“…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Christ’s love is deep too, so our love and service toward Orange Mound and the My Cup of Tea ladies must also be deep.

“Going deep” at My Cup of Tea means striving to acknowledge each woman as an image bearer of God with a past that doesn’t define her and a future with a purpose. It means leaving judgement at the door and putting on our desire to both teach and learn from others with disparate life experiences from own.

In the most practical way, loving deep erases the time limit one can stay at My Cup of Tea. Women are encouraged to seek other opportunities to help them become self-sufficient, but there is plenty to do at The House until they are ready for what’s next. It means paying at least $15 per hour, so they can fulfill their basic needs.

Going deep means actively seeking the opinions of the women served. It is empowering them to lead as members of our Board of Directors or as supervisors of daily operations. It is a vision that one day a Black woman from the neighborhood will lead our grand experiment.

Depth includes knowing their children, who lives in their homes, and their health concerns, not because they are required to tell us, but because they have trusted us enough to share. It is standing shoulder to shoulder with them in the best times and in the worst.

Going deep is studying God’s word together, teaching what we know, but acknowledging that none of us could ever know it all. It’s praying for their specific needs as they share them and being vulnerable enough with them to seek their prayers.

In the world of deep diving, enthusiasts plunge into ocean depths greater than sixty feet and experience an underwater realm never seen by most people. These dives can be draining and perilous. One of the primary safety rules is to never dive alone. Going deep at My Cup of Tea is not something we can do alone. Orange Mound women, volunteers, and leaders must partner for the good of each other.

The divers who see indescribable beauty under the sea often try to capture its essence with underwater cameras and various technologies, but the pictures, videos, and recorded sounds never adequately replicate the diver’s experience. In the same way, we share photos, videos, newsletters, and more to try to communicate to you and our potential funders what is happening in the depths of Orange Mound. Like the divers, our efforts cannot do justice to the beauty we see.

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Committing to Resilience

Committing to Resilience

Unless you have been “off the grid” for the last decade, you are likely aware of the growing mental health crisis in America. Today, nearly 58 million adults or 1 in 5 have a diagnosed mental illness. The fastest growing segment is women. Thirty-six point seven percent report having been diagnosed with depression – a 10.6% increase since 2017. The number of African Americans who report being diagnosed with depression is now 34.4%. This outpaces the growth of whites who report a depression diagnosis by more than 8%. Finally, according to the Centers for Disease Control, people living at or below the poverty level report feelings of nervousness, anxiety, or worry at a significantly higher rate (19.4% vs. 12.7%) than adults who live above the poverty level.

  • Female
  • Black
  • Poor

These are the primary demographics of those served at My Cup of Tea. It is also notable that prolonged exposure of children to trauma involving abuse, neglect, and dysfunctional home lives contributes to serious mental health issues. More than a majority of women served by My Cup of Tea over the last decade had childhoods that included these adverse experiences. Working side by side with Orange Mound women for approximately 2,500 days, we know that what the data reports about the mental health of poor, Black women in true.

More than the mental, emotional, and physical damage caused by a mental illness, an article by Drs. Michaela Beder and Kevin Simon in Psychiatric Times points to another challenge unique to the poor in our country.

The evidence is strong for a causal relationship between poverty and mental health. However, findings suggest that poverty leads to mental health and developmental problems that in turn prevent individuals and families from leaving poverty, creating a vicious, intergenerational cycle of poverty and poor health.

In other words, if we strive to address poverty by providing a good paying, reliable job but fail to grapple with the issue of mental health, the odds of breaking the cycle of poverty become slimmer.

As the mental illness plague has become more pervasive, it seems everyone is seeking the causes. Some point to the obsession with social media. Others suggest materialism in our culture. Broken homes are a favorite excuse along with “helicopter parents” or a lack of physical activity. And while the medical and academic communities mine the data to discover the cause or causes, some in the Christian community suggest that a lack of prayer, reading of Scripture, and time spent with God is the basis for our nation’s challenges with mental health.

Honestly, we don’t know the “why.”

What we know is that many of the women we serve are suffering, and if they are suffering, then so are their families. What we also know is that treatment is now available in our communities.

The Memphis Resilience Project is a long-term commitment by the mental health experts at Christian Psychological Center to partner with nonprofits and city organizations to provide mental health services to the underserved. Under the program, individuals at 175% of the poverty level or below can receive counseling for $10, $30, or $50 per session depending on their income level. This alone would be an enormous benefit to the community, but there is more. CPC will provide schools support for early intervention for childhood trauma. They are offering community trauma workshops, training for nonprofit staff on how to build emotional resilience, and scholarships for clinical trainees to help grow the number of available practitioners to serve the underserved.

Last week, we introduced this program to the My Cup of Tea ladies and already some are moving forward to take advantage of the services offered. Whatever the causes of mental illness, we are resolved to support the ladies in the same way we would support them if the diagnosis were cancer and not depression, anxiety, or PTSD. We will recognize it’s real and serious. We will pray together and share encouraging passages of Scripture. We will ask how else we can help. We will encourage them to take full advantage of proven treatments.

And we will trust in the goodness and mercy of our God.

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Our Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Our Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In 2013, the doors opened at the House in Orange Mound welcoming women in the neighborhood in pursuing connection and mutual appreciation. Countless workshops, experts and volunteers have enlightened us and enhanced our quest for self-improvement and a capacity to work in community while promoting our lovely products.

A diagnostic, often required in business settings, was offered only recently to our ladies at My Cup of Tea. Personality tests are fascinating and though readily available in Memphis, the ladies had never been exposed to a personal diagnostic to explore core motivations, desires, and fears. Our ladies’ mentors agreed to examine material and provide this opportunity to enlighten them and acknowledge the singularity and value of each of the MCOT employees.

One of our volunteers has had years of coaching the nine profiles of the acclaimed Enneagram system and graciously led us through three workshops.  Each of the ladies recognized her own number type connected to a broad personality standard and the “wings” or ancillary personality types that are associated with it. With confidence each explained herself to our group. In a short while, we became amused by our differences in problem solving, communication, and social interaction. Our coach emphasized that we are providentially interacting as a body with essential, valuable, and irreplaceable members with problem solving skills.   All of us felt seen and respected. I loved the laughter and the nods of agreement. We concluded that we are free to embrace our personalities and characteristics identified by the test. They are vital to the furthering of God’s work for us in Orange Mound.

One is a Reformer and Idealist.

Two are Helpers and Caregivers.

One is an Achiever and Pragmatic.

Two are Individualists.

Two are Enthusiasts.

One is a Challenger and powerful.

One is a Peacemaker and always agreeable.

We are interlaced daily in a simple task of formatting and shipping our excellent tea to customers locally and in all fifty states. This safety, security, and peacefulness is our Dr. Jekyll from the Robert Louis Stevenson classic.

But there is more than tea on our minds. Every afternoon, upon walking out of the front door at The House in Orange Mound and stepping off the front porch, our collective consciousness shifts from comfort to caution. The ladies live daily among lawbreakers with guns and vendettas. Poor and heads of their households, they cannot be passive or ignore the dangers. All they hold closely is in jeopardy and their loved ones are vulnerable. They are stepping out to face our Mr. Hyde. 

Our neighborhood has an inordinate amount of crime unchecked. Last week our plight was tagged nationally when gun violence terrorized a block party a mile from our House in Orange Mound and death and injury ensued. The ladies knew more than the social media reports, because information is passed along the streets faster than the Internet. The personality types we had discovered and identified only a week earlier showed up and out.  A never-before and robust discussion in the kitchen with refreshing confidence in their positions held us all for 20 minutes and lunch waited.

The exchange began with scripture from Luke 10:29-37 and asking, “What does loving our neighbor look like in Orange Mound”?

Our Peacemaker led the discussion saying we must be agreeable and not call the police for small mess-ups. Our Loyalist said build a trusting and friendly relationship with neighbors who have children and help when able. The Challenger agreed and suggested we need to be proactive and intentionally cultivate safe neighbors. Our Helper said she had tried bridging often by sharing her resources. Our Reformer said it is possible, but a strategy must be informed and intentional.

The vision for a shalom community is being repeated in our prayers and in our conversations more often around the kitchen table. Passivity is no longer recommended.  Each of us should be a participant in reclamation and repair of our community but slowly and courageously. What was improbable now looks possible with the Lord and collaboration. We know He wills His Kingdom into full glory in Orange Mound.

While many people are fleeing our neighborhood, we remain to restore the peace and security once known here. In1878, many left Memphis, fearing the ubiquitous Yellow Fever. Those who remained cared for the sick, made house calls, and personified good neighborliness. Our city recovered and ten years later, Orange Mound was founded by many of those who prevailed through the epidemic.

Our crime statistics rival an epidemic now. Fear and resignation are no longer on the kitchen table at The House. We aren’t seeking a secret potion like Dr. Jekyll attempting to control Mr. Hyde. We are committed to the hard work long-term. We are growing in resolve to be the change agents and the harbingers of a new and better version of Orange Mound by thoroughly loving our neighbors.

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