Offering hope to strangers and fostering friendships through coffee and conversation is the mission of Kingdom Coffee founder Jesse Singleton.
When Singleton was a child, his father, Jim, went to jail for the first of many times, eventually ending up on the streets with a heroin addiction. In 2010, a group of pastors came upon Jim in front of the Calgary Drop-In Centre. “They found my dad on the street, they shared a cup of coffee together and brought him to a recovery centre — and changed his life,” Singleton says.
Jim ultimately became a pastor himself, helping others on the streets and reconciling with his son.
After Jim’s untimely death in a workplace accident in 2015, Singleton didn’t want his father’s transformation to be in vain. In 2016, he and his wife, Steph, started giving away coffee outside the Drop-In Centre. In 2017, the couple started their own coffee company, Kingdom Coffee, from their garage. It has since grown into a roastery and café in Ogden, with a second location at Crossroads Market. Kingdom products can be found in grocery stores across the city, and a portion of every bag of Kingdom coffee beans sold goes to helping get unhoused people into recovery and finding them a place to stay. The Kingdom team still gives away coffee and provides meals to the unhoused every week. Kingdom Coffee also launched a food bank in 2022 that helps more than 2,000 families.
Singleton says it all comes back to honouring his father’s legacy, and how he was able to come to a place of peace and recovery. “We want to encourage others in that as well,” he says.