BREWING SPIRITUAL READINESS -- Fort Novosel chaplaincy serves up free coffee to help connect with post community

By Jim Hughes, Fort Novosel Public AffairsJuly 25, 2023

Coffee 2
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Sunday morning coffeehouse ministry at Wings Chapel. (Photo Credit: Army photo) VIEW ORIGINAL
Coffee 1
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Volunteers unload the 25 double-faced pallets of free coffee donated by Holy Joe’s Café, a nationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to providing free coffee to chaplain ministries across the armed forces, June 23 at the Spiritual Life Center. (Photo Credit: Army photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT NOVOSEL, Ala. -- The Fort Novosel chaplaincy received a donation of 25 double-faced pallets of coffee K-Cups June 23 and its staff is putting it to use to help increase the spiritual readiness of the post community.

Donated by Holy Joe’s Café, a nationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to providing free coffee to chaplain ministries across the armed forces, the bounty inside the Spiritual Life Center is helping Fort Novosel chaplains connect with Soldiers, according to Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Peter Hofman, garrison chaplain.

But the bounty isn’t going to just sit in the Spiritual Life Center, Hofman said, adding that anyone who wants some of the free coffee should drop by the spiritual life center “and we’ll hook you up.”

“We are working with the unit first sergeants to let Soldiers know that they can come over and grab it – a single point of distribution for each unit,” Hofman said. “For the directorates at the garrison level, they just need to come over and we will load you up.”

The chaplain said people can drop by the center during duty hours or call ahead at 334-255-3447.

And once people have their free coffee at their units or offices, maybe they can invite their local chaplain over for a cup of Joe and a dose of spiritual resiliency, as well, Hofman said, adding a “big shout out and thank you” to Holy Joe’s.

“This is a good thing for not only with what we do at the chapel, but at the unit level – it’s another touchpoint for chaplains to go around and check in on their Soldiers, their staff, their commander – to go into the offices and say, ‘Hey everyone, what’s going on?’ It opens new lines of communication and allows the chaplain to get his foot in the door, and maybe just spark up a conversation. Hot coffee is a good way to do it.”

Hofman compared it to creative ideas he’s used in the past to connect with Soldiers.

“I’ve found that little things like that can go a long way,” he said. “When I was in Afghanistan and I had to go around to these different small units, small outposts, a lot of the people there I had never met. I knew I had a limited time there and I had to engage these Soldiers. They were looking at me like, who is this guy?

“So, I started up a sock ministry where I had people from the States send me socks,” Hofman continued. “I knew that was something everybody would like – a nice fresh pair of combat socks. So, I’d go over there and say, ‘I’m here to take care of your souls.’ And they’d say, ‘Yeah, of course, you’re the chaplain.’ And I’d say, ‘I’m here to take care of your other soles, too – I’ve got some socks!’ And boom! Just like that I was in.

“It broke down that barrier and opened up communication – ‘Oh, ok, this guy isn’t here to just preach to us all day,’ or whatever they thought I was there to do. No, I was there to help them,” he added. “I think the coffee ministry does much the same thing. It shows that talking to chaplains doesn’t just have to be about times that are bad. They’re just friends – they’re someone that you can talk to, and you know it’s always easier if you talk to somebody over a cup of coffee.”

That coffeehouse ministry is also benefitting warrant officer candidate students every Sunday morning, the chaplain added.

“Warrant officer students are allowed to interact with their families only on Sunday mornings at the chapel, so a lot of them will get there before service starts and just hang out with their family,” Hofman said. “Chaplain (Maj.) Mickey Basham built these really nice coffee bars, and now we have advanced individual training students who come over and volunteer – they just walk right across the street – and they put on aprons and pretend to be baristas for a couple of hours every Sunday morning.

“They get joy out of doing that and warrant officer students get to come there to be with their families, and it’s just a nice atmosphere,” he added. “They’re able to sit back, relax and enjoy time with their families over a cup of hot Joe, compliments of Holy Joe’s. They’re really enhancing our ministry over there and directly supporting our family time for the warrant officer students. It’s really been a big hit.”

For more on the Fort Novosel chaplaincy, visit its website at