First responders, disaster relief agencies, and displaced residents in Louisiana and Houston have all agreed that coffee would lift their spirits.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Pit Crew Coffee
Recently, Category 4 Hurricane Ida swept through the streets of New Orleans, destroying homes and leaving the city without power for nearly two weeks. Following the hurricane—one of the strongest storms to ever hit Louisiana, with wind gusts up to 170 mph—the city is slowly putting itself back together, but countless residents are still experiencing power outages that may continue for weeks.
Needless to say, the area is busy with first responders and other helpers, who are working tirelessly to provide relief—and it’s clear that they could use some caffeination to continue.
According to NOLA and HTX-based coffee technicians Pit Crew Coffee Service, “Coffee is one of the most requested items by disaster relief agencies, first responders, linemen on the job 24 x 7, and people displaced in shelters.” After receiving tremendous requests for support from the coffee industry, this is what Pit Crew set out to do to help their community after Hurricane Ida.
“The coffee community has always been quick to respond to natural disasters,” says Allen Leibowitz at Pit Crew. “Cafés are often the first places open, providing a place to meet, to get coffee, and sometimes be a place to feed the community. The requests for coffee come from literally everyone providing support to the communities in the hardest-hit area. Community shelters and first responders ALL ask for coffee. It fuels the job they do and there may be no better feeling to know that the coffee industry can have a direct and immediate impact on people’s lives.”
After connecting with the Mutual Aid Response Network Imagine Water Works, the nonprofit has set out to deliver coffee to individuals, first responders, and frontline workers in the hardest-hit parishes outside of New Orleans. In partnership with Pit Crew Coffee, the team is requesting YOUR help in getting as much coffee out as possible to the folks helping in these areas.
There are a few ways you can help out after Hurricane Ida:
- Donating any kind of instant coffee or single-use packets
- Trying to donate coffee via drop-ship from one of your vendors or by Amazon
- Making a cash contribution to Imagine Water Works
The address to ship coffee is:
Imagine Water Works
Attn: Klie Kliebert
611 Joseph Ave.
Gulfport, MS 39501
Although buying someone a cup of coffee may initially not seem as impactful as other forms of aid, it’s definitely been proven to help in the wake of a public disaster. After Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in 2017, Pit Crew worked with a dozen other local roasters to distribute over 300 pounds of coffee to first responders there. Additionally, thousands of frontline workers experienced the love, warmth, and fuel of free coffee during the first rounds of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
To donate directly to the mutual aid response network, you can do so here.