The Lancaster Stroopie Co. makes a delicious traditional Dutch cookie – and the company is also known for employing refugees. The Stroopie Co. won last year’s Great Social Enterprise Pitch, an annual business plan competition in Lancaster, hosted by ASSETS Lancaster and the Lancaster County Community Foundation. Today on the blog, Stroopies manager Adrianne Huber talks about working alongside refugees and finding her calling in unexpected places – like a cookie company.
What inspires you?
No, really. What makes your heart thump and makes you feel so much passion that you’re about to burst?
I never thought that, for me, it would be managing a cookie company. A farm girl, and literally a down-to-earth kind of person – what am I doing making Dutch “cinnamon waffle cookies with homemade caramel syrup inside” (as I so often describe our product: stroopies)?
Well, it’s not actually the cookie that makes me passionate (although stroopies are pretty awesome), but it’s the people behind the cookies who inspire me. Never have I felt so privileged to work alongside such beautiful and courageous people as my coworkers at The Lancaster Stroopie Company.
As they walk into the plant, you’d imagine you were witnessing the reunion of long lost friends rather than of coworkers who’d seen each other, at most, a week ago. I’m generally greeted with an exuberant hug or a lighter hug and accompanying kiss on the cheek, depending on whether the greeting is Burmese or Iraqi … and I love it!
As I teach them English, they’ve taught me an incredible amount about life – from what it looks like to persevere, to what it looks like to cleverly overcome language and cultural barriers. As I’ve fumbled around, learning what it means to be a manager, they’ve confidently given grace. Additionally, they’ve driven me to create and “look beyond.”
They’ve compelled me to earnest prayer. I care about them, and they care about me. We often check in with each other and share life together … right down to this text I received from my coworker as I was recently recovering from a double ear infection: “I hope you will be alright. If u need anything, I am glad to help.” I cherish these interactions and do not take for granted the opportunity I have to rub shoulders with these awesome women almost every day.
People seem to fall into a variety of categories when it comes to the refugee crisis, ranging from passionate, to indifferent, to passionate on the other side of the issue. God has created us uniquely and placed us each in unique situations. We are responsible for what He has put in our hands. How are we going to use what He’s given us to share and embody Jesus? It may not be refugees that inspire you and “make you feel so much passion that you’re about to burst.” Perhaps it is your children, or maybe the customers at work. Maybe writing makes you fervently impassioned.
“Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17, ESV).
Adrianne is a former EMM missionary to Guinea-Bissau and is currently learning what it means to live missionally in Lancaster, Pa. When she’s not making delicious cookies, she enjoys outdoor, musical, and gastronomical adventures with friends – preferably all at the same time.