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Glass Half Generous: How Humanitree House Balances Business & Community Service
When community is at the center of all you do, your dream becomes just a little bit sweeter.
At least that’s the case for Denise and her husband Baruti, co-founders and big dreamers behind Humanitree House Juice Joint. Because what started off as a humble initiative to bring healthier food to their friends, family and community has blossomed into so much more.
DENISE TUCKER:BIG DREAM MOVEMENT
MITCH MATTHEWS: We're in Georgia, today. We're gonna spend some time here, at the Humanitree House Juice Joint and Gallery. We're gonna talk to the big dreamers behind this beautiful place. Talk with them about what they put in their juice. And from what I hear, the primary ingredient is love.
On screen: Denise Tucker, Co-Founder, Humanitree House Juice Joint & Gallery
DENISE TUCKER: You know from my family's lives to you know, community lives, there are a lot of people that come through here that never thought about healthy food and they come back and say thank you.
MITCH MATTHEWS: Yeah.
DENISE TUCKER: Because I would've never been open to this. And we opened on Saturdays only from noon to midnight, by donation only. And before we knew it, we had like droves of customers coming through. And I still would not leave my job and my husband was like, you're leaving that job. If he hadn't had said go for it, I would still be working as an HR Manager. I would have never ever, I'm too predictable.
On screen: Baruti Tucker, Co-Founder, Humanitree House Juice Joint & Gallery
BARUTI TUCKER: A lot of times, we become so attached to things, that we forget about relationships. And so, I diminished the attachment with her having this insecurity about the job, and I just kept it moving. And then she started to see that I was really faithful in this whole idea. So, here we are.
DENISE TUCKER: You know, people would come in and say hey, you know I'm surviving cancer. Getting ready to go through chemo. I'm gonna need a little help. What should I buy? And, many of them could pay for it, but, for me, I felt like that was a way that I could gift them.
On screen: Kylah McPherson, Breast Cancer Survivor
LYLAH McPHERSON: She was just very supportive. She was like, everybody is different. It's your journey, you know. You gotta do what's best for yourself and she handed me a gift card for $100. I was not expecting this. I didn't know, I was just here like, because I wanted a juice and she gave me it, and she was like, here, as long as you're in treatment this is yours. And when you max it out, come back and we will refill it.
LYLAH McPHERSON: And I was astonished. I started crying of course and it made me feel worthy. It empowered me to get through the chemo. It made me feel like, yeah, you have a reason to live. People care about you. I mean, I think this is like an oasis of funkiness and love. I love the vibe. There's no other place like this in Augusta. Her husband is a brilliant artist, as you can see. I just love it. I think this is what community is about.
BARUTI TUCKER: She'll tell people that she's an introvert. Love is not introverted. It's like water, finding its way to different cracks and that's what she's done. And if you look at one of the juices, it shows you on the juice, love.
BARUTI TUCKER: And I cracked up laughin' when I saw it. I was like, that's my baby. She's gonna tell you there's gonna be love in the juice. And hopefully, there's more people that'll be inspired by that love, my wife's love, and start giving that love. You know, so.
On screen: BIG DREAM MOVEMENT
Beyond serving her loyal, paying customers, Denise puts in extra care to help those in need — she provides free vegan foods and juices to cancer patients and others with chronic health issues, hoping to show some support and love that’ll make a difference along their journey.
“I really just want to give them what they need, show them love and that someone cares and wants to offer something to make them smile,” shares Denise. “Sometimes that’s juice or food, and other times it’s a hug and an encouraging word. I love being able to say, ‘I’m doing this for you just because and I want nothing in return, I just want you to drink a juice and smile. No expectation that you’ll feel better tomorrow, that you’ll want to talk, that you’ll miraculously be healed or cured. No expectation.’ Just pure love for them to receive.”
Denise’s selflessness and generosity has been a blessing to so many, and it’s the ripple-effect that fuels her dream! But Humanitree House is still a business, and finding the right balance between profit and community service doesn’t come without its challenges.
“I’m only human and there are days when I fear our ability to sustain ourselves operating as a community service initiative with true business expenses,” explains Denise. “But then someone will come in and say ‘this place changed my life and I love you for it.’ When that happens, I’m reassured that the community needs us and we need them.”
Ultimately for Denise, it’s all about finding the right way to marry business and charity! Because choosing one over the other is not an option. And she’s got some advice for those who are looking to do the same.
Let opportunity outweigh fear. When it comes to pursuing any dream, we’re often our own greatest obstacle. If you’ve got a little voice in the back of your head urging you to wait until you’ve got all your ducks in a row, you’re not alone. But it’s actually best to jump in and focus on the opportunity rather than letting your doubts win.
“We started our business with no savings, no loans and only $1,000. To many this would be a terrible decision, but we’ve managed to stay alive for five years,” says Denise. “My best advice would be to never resist giving for fear of losing. We are all given enough and most of us are given more than enough. When you share your more than enough with others, your well will never run dry.”
Redefine success. Success doesn’t need to be linked to the money you’ve got in the bank. Sometimes success means living out your true passions! Just like Denise has done. While finances are certainly important, consider keeping your day job for now and find ways to give back on the side. You never know where it might take you, and not pursuing this dream simply because it doesn’t align with the traditional view of success isn’t a worthy excuse.
“Regardless of what Humanitree House looks like financially, I know we are in the right place doing the right thing,” expresses Denise. “For every single person I help, I receive confirmation that I am in the right place.”
Exude kindness. Here’s a tip that’ll come in handy no matter what your aspirations: always come from a place of kindness. You’d be surprised by the almost instant impact this shift will have! And when you pour kindness into the world, it comes full-circle back to you.
“I encourage everyone to keep their attitudes positive, their words tender and share love,” advises Denise. “Take a moment to talk to someone that you would not ordinarily encounter or speak to. Show them kindness. Through our sharing, we change our families, our communities and, eventually, this world. Start by sharing a kind word to someone every day. You’ll see a change in your life by that small feat.”
Although going after a dream similar to Denise’s can feel uncertain and scary, it really comes down to one basic concept: living your purpose.
If you truly feel that your goals will help you live your best life and impact others along the way, then go for it! One step at a time. Start by keeping these tips in mind and forage your own path forward from there. And have faith that you’ll get back what you put out.
Need even more support? We’re here to help! Join the dream movement today — we’ve got just the resources to motivate and guide you along any dream pursuit!
Related Topics: Passions , Health , Community