Urbana Cruisers donate Blessing Barn


By Ron Brohm

Contributing writer

The local Urbana Cruisers car club has donated a new “Blessing Barn” to the Spotted Cow Coffeehouse in Urbana.

This mini-barn replaces the old one which was in dire need of replacement.

The barn was built by club members Tim Staley and Sharon Leaman over a two-week period, with other members of the Cruisers donating materials also. Skelley Lumber in Urbana donated the Plexiglass for the doors. The barn was also delivered and installed by members of the Urbana Cruisers.

The Blessing Barn serves the community as a mini-pantry helping to fill the need for food and supplies for the community and/or a need to give.

The Urbana Cruisers love to put on car shows and cruise-ins and they also love to raise money to give back to their community such as this effort.

“We not only love to do car show benefits but we like to volunteer our time and efforts for other local events, such as Cruise-in for a Cause and the Urbana Holiday Horse Parade, “ said Staley, co-founder of the club.

Operated by Staley and Leaman, the Urbana Cruisers have been going strong with their community efforts since the club’s founding more than three years ago.

The Spotted Cow Coffeehouse has been in operation since May 2014 and works closely with Downsize Farm to provide opportunities to developmentally-disabled individuals in Champaign County.

In fact, Bobbi (Custer) McKee, executive director of Downsize Farm and owner of the Spotted Cow Coffeehouse, was presented a commendation in 2018 from Elaine Herrick, Regional Liaison of Ohio Secretary of State for her efforts to employ workers who have developmental disabilities.

About Downsize Farm

Downsize Farm, located on 2.5 acres in the gentle hills of eastern Champaign County, has been home to the Bob and Midge Custer family since April of 2001.

They had moved to the area from the dairy lands of Wisconsin in 1989 to serve as pastor at Jenkins Chapel, bringing along a well cultivated desire to grow things. The year 2001 would prove to be an eventful year of transition for the Custers as they responded to an inner desire to deepen their roots in the area and follow God’s direction to be more involved in the needs of individuals and families dealing with the special challenge of developmental disabilities.

Like other families that prayerfully appealed for answers to the unique demands of raising kids with developmental disabilities, Downsize Farm would be a great place for their two sons, Levi and Eric, to look at life through the distinct trademark eyes of Down Syndrome (Down’s-eyes).

Downsize Farm’s mission is to enrich the quality of life of each program participant through a personalized, yet structured schedule that is well balanced. Downsize Farm is certified by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. The staff is trained according to D.O.D.D. requirements. Small staff-to-client ratios enable daily activities to enhance positive friendships while flexing according to individual interest and ability.

About Spotted Cow Coffeehouse

Located at 927 N. Main St. in Urbana, the coffeehouse is operated by McKee, who was inspired to open the shop by her brothers, Levi and Eric.

“The goal is to enrich workers’ lives by empowering them to learn about coffee origins, products, and how it is prepared. As a result, our knowledge, skills, and abilities add a unique sweetness to every cup,” according to the Spotted Cow Coffeehouse mission statement. “Through service, our workers will learn to own their job. Our associates will master the ability to serve guests of the coffeehouse ​while building interpersonal skills, self-worth, and self-esteem. Our perspective – as we facilitate our growth as individuals, we will construct a positive synergy to extend to our guests and our community.”

The Spotted Cow takes pride in the ability to foster daily opportunity.

“We strive to present a dream job with a focus on the prosperity of our lives as a whole, and not just a paycheck,” according to the store’s website. “We strive to extend this opportunity beyond our house as well. We encompass our coffee beans to our community, because serving you is opportunity for all. At The Spotted Cow, we are all victors, not victims. Let’s seize the day.”

Ron Brohm is an Outdoors, Tourism, Parks, Automotive & Aviation Journalist/Author and writes for the Urbana Daily Citizen and other AIM Media Midwest newspapers and several national magazines. He is also a Certified Parks & Recreation Professional (CPRP), serves as the Park Commissioner for the City of Riverside & is the Executive Director of the Great Ohio Outback Wilderness Regional Authority.

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