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Homegrown: Fill My Cup offers coffee and worship in Baldwyn

January 11, 2019

BALDWYN, Miss. (AP) — After the busy lunch rush, Tammy Lee, owner of the Baldwyn-based coffee shop Fill My Cup, took some time to chat with the few locals who stopped in for a cup of coffee on a cold day, introducing her staff and making sure everyone was comfortable.

Lee completed seminary school, opened an early education center for 120 children at a South Carolina church and later worked as a foster care case worker for the Department of Human Services. Lee became a foster parent herself, adopting a young girl who is now grown.

“That’s where my heart was, for the children who needed a home,” Lee said.

Lee actually opened a bakery in Baldwyn a decade before opening Fill My Cup.

“When we lived in South Carolina, we were involved in the youth ministry there, and I always dreamed of a ‘Solid Rock Cafe’,” she said. “I wanted the youth to have to hang out, just with Christian music playing, and now 25 years later, I see that dream come to fruition.”

The idea for Fill My Cup came to Lee in a dream and began when Lee was struggling and looking for a new purpose in life.

“There’s no way to explain the story without going into the spiritual side of it,” Lee said.

“It was a season of my life that was very difficult. There were a lot of losses and a lot of emotional pain and during that season. I cried out to God, and I asked him to use my pain for his purposes,” she said.

Lee went on a mission trip to Kentucky to work for a nonprofit Christian coffee house called The Well that supported the local food pantry and area needs.

“It was one of the ways God revealed to me that this was supposed to be a Christian coffee house,” Lee said.

Lee said the coffee shop is just the beginning of what is to come. She has employed two women from a local Baldwyn women’s shelter called Transformation Home for Women, which is a ministry of The Anchor Church in Tupelo, to teach them marketable skills and give them work experience to be able to start their lives over.

The coffee house also sells products made by women from the home, such as jellies like Muscadine and Scupadine, or towels they have sewn.

“It’s part of just trying to help women who are going through either drug addiction or just coming straight out of prison, or things like that,” Lee said.

Lee took over the fairly new coffee house in March, in a Baldwyn building that was formerly owned by Jewish immigrants.

“In Jewish tradition, if you come into their home and they fill your cup half full, that means you are not a welcome guest and you will be on your way, but if they fill your cup to the point of overflowing, you are a welcome guest invited to stay, so I took that Jewish tradition and also the song ‘Fill my cup, O Lord’ to make the name,” she said.

Fill My Cup sells a light lunch menu featuring several classic sandwiches with healthy sides, as well as a variety of freshly baked pastries, coffees and teas.

The coffee shop regularly tries to book live Christian music for its stage on Friday or Saturday evenings. Lee said she hopes to bring in more Christian artists to play their music at the shop. The shop is also a meeting place for small events.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, http://djournal.com

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