Thousands of people have been affected by the devastating hurricane that hit southeast Texas and Louisiana earlier this week. Here’s how folks in the coffee community can help.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of Blacksmith Coffee.
Last week, Hurricane Harvey—a Category 4 hurricane—made landfall in southeast Texas, killing a yet undetermined amount of people (the current count is 43 but that number is expected to rise) along with displacing thousands of residents. Many are without power, and homes and businesses all across the area are flooded due to the the heavy rainfall.
The hurricane has affected many coffee businesses around the area. “Thankfully our roastery and shops were spared any major damage, as was my home and family,” shares Matthew Toomey of Boomtown Coffee Roasters. “One of our staff, Katie, lost pretty much everything with waters rising above countertops in her home. Katie, like many Houstonians, arise receiving an amazing amount of outreach and support from those close to her as well as strangers, many who traveled far to assist. To me, this is at the heart of the issue. Houston, as you know is extremely diverse. Our differences were put aside as people united to help those in their times of need, reaching out and helping the person who is close to you,” he shares.
Blacksmith Coffee in Houston shut down for a few days to ensure the safety of its baristas and employees, and is now open, accepting donations and looking to the coffee community to contribute to relief efforts. “We plan on calling on other cafés around the country to have a throwdown in solidarity with us at the same time for the same cause. So far we have a couple others in Texas who are willing to do it. I think I may be able to get some places in Cleveland, Chicago … still waiting to hear back from everyone,” shares Antoine Franklin, Blacksmith’s general manager.
Blacksmith is also accepting donations of food, water, and other items needed for residents who have been displaced and are without resources.
Many cafes across the nation are also coming together to donate part of their sales on Labor Day to various relief efforts. “This Labor Day, September 4th, Case Study Coffee Roasters will be donating 10% of all sales to GlobalGiving, a disaster relief organization with emphases on delivering food, providing shelter, and embracing victims through the transition into long term recovery,” shares Troy Ramsey, director of coffee for the Portland, Ore.-based roaster. “GlobalGiving has earned the highest rating from Charity Navigator for efficiency and direct use of funds, as well as full accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. We ask the Portland community to join us in embracing our fellow humans in Texas and Louisiana through GlobalGiving’s relief efforts,” Troy adds.
Other businesses will also be donating proceeds during the Labor Day weekend to relief causes. “This Monday, we will send all proceeds from online and Stumptown cafe [excluding PDX Airport] sales to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund,” the company shared on Instagram earlier this week. Klatch Coffee is also donating to the efforts. “In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Klatch Coffee Roasters of Southern California has announced their planned contribution to the relief causes for the devastating Hurricane Harvey,” a press release announced. “Klatch will raise and donate $10,000 for the Salvation Army’s disaster efforts from all coffee sales throughout Labor Day weekend.”
Klatch doesn’t want to stop there, and urges other coffee companies to follow suit. “We want to challenge other roasters to do the same, be part of the solution, and to challenge other coffee professionals as well. This is a great time for us to stand united and create hope for those who have lost theirs this week,” said Klatch owner Mike Perry.
We at Barista Magazine hope to promote and encourage other coffee shops and companies to do what they can to support victims of Hurricane Harvey. We will continue to update this article throughout the weekend to tell our readers where they can spend their dollars to help make a difference. If you or any coffee companies you know will be organizing an event or donating money, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we”ll add them to this list.