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Coffee Brews Fresh Start After Prison

In a state with one of the highest incarceration rates in the United States, a United Methodist ministry is helping former inmates make a fresh start. At Red River Roasters in Oklahoma City, coffee is changing lives one cup at a time.

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(Oklahoma City, OK)

A lot of people rely on coffee to jump start their day. But something much bigger is brewing at Red River Roasters in Oklahoma City.

Crystal King: "When I came here God turned my life around." 

The perks of this job can be life-changing for people like Crystal King.

Crystal King: "I've spent about 13 years of my life battling addiction. I ended up incarcerated. I was doing a 15-year nonviolent sentence. I knew I needed to turn my life around and I couldn't do it on my own. I tried for years." 

Giving ex-inmates work skills and renewed confidence is a great blend, says Tony Altizerer, a former inmate himself and a member of the Red River Roasters board.

Tony Altizerer: "They don't have want ads inside the prison walls. Thoughts and prayers only go so far. You really have to have a hands-on approach. You have to have a support group of people." 

United Methodist pastor Brad Rogers leads Redemption United Methodist, a community just for those with ties to prison.

The Rev. Brad Rogers: "When people come out of prison most people have a felony background and they have a lot of fines and a lot of fees. What they need is stable employment."

Crystal King: "As someone who went to prison for selling drugs, you think how quick easy money, you know how you could go back to that. And you don't want to live that lifestyle but geez I got to pay my fines or they're gonna put me back in jail. I mean I have thought of all those things."

Theresa Owens: "This program has given me hope. They trusted me and they gave me the opportunity to grow."

Coffee is waking people up to a way they can help their neighbors.

The Rev. Brad Rogers, Redemption United Methodist Church: "They get that little seed planted and then they start learning how to overcome those obstacles and it all starts with this church, it all starts with this ministry." 

Crystal King: "When I came here, my life became so different. There is hope, there really is. Some people don't realize that, they don't know how to get out of it. You know people deserve a second chance, and through Red River, we offer people second chances. And I can't imagine not being involved in this."

Red River Roasters was founded by Redemption Church, a ministry of The United Methodist Church's Oklahoma Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries. Learn more

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.
Media contact is Fran Walsh, 615-742-5458.
This video was first posted on January 17, 2019.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

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