We are in a dilapidated neighborhood. It has a rich history, but few know the story of the oldest African American Community in the USA…once a beacon, now a shell of what it once was. Businesses, jobs, and opportunities have all left for parts of the city our residents are unable to reach. The church buildings remain, but many of the religious leaders are gone, and their doors are closed all week… few resources are available to the community on a daily basis.
High rates of crime and poverty, and low rates of hope and jobs have created a forgotten community that has become invisible to the many wealthy Memphians who zip along our north and eastern corridors to reach the gated communities, businesses, and commercial areas to the east.
The House of Orange Mound and the Tea Company are providing a physical presence of the good news of the Gospel—the restoration of all things— in a dying community which is gasping for a breath of fresh economic stimulation. Training workshops, encouragement classes, and nurturing sessions begin at the House… and for those who are ready for more, there is a job waiting! Partnership with My Cup of Tea at 823 Semmes sparks wages, security, purpose, transformation and emotional health.
The House is a gathering place, and is often called a sanctuary firmly planted in the midst of a boarded up community. We are helping shine a Kingdom Light on the dulled senses of women who have never heard how they are cherished. We are washing away their indignities, drying their eyes, and redirecting their focus. We are helping them fill in the cracks of their past mis-steps, and smoothing the pathway for them to find their purpose as mothers, neighbors and wage earners.
The House of Orange Mound will one day be accompanied by a Community Tea House down the street. In the interim we will continue to train and hire women, and sell our exquisite tea.
Together, we are on track to restore Orange Mound to its rightful identity among the great communities in our country.