In 1989, Jossy Eyre was volunteering at a daytime women’s shelter in Denver as part of her master’s degree in social work. There she met dozens of jobless women with little sense of where they were going or what came next. After a period of relative safety and stability at the shelter, the women simply stopped showing up.
Jossy worked at the shelter for the entire academic year, and it didn’t take long for familiar faces to reappear. Often, the women had gotten jobs during their time away, but struggled to keep them. Jossy’s talks with them revealed an interconnected web of social and financial challenges that required a more sustainable solution.
So she did what all accidental social entrepreneurs do – she asked herself what she knew how to do, and how she could use her skills to create opportunities for others.
Jossy knew how to make soup. So she invested $500 of her own money and put two women to work making single pot mixes – 10 Bean, Lentil, Spicy Split Pea, and several other healthful blends of pulses, beans, and spices.
Naturally, she called it the Women’s Bean Project.