Several coffee companies throughout Nashville offer free coffee, financial donations, and volunteer opportunities to speed recovery.
BY JOSH RANK
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Josh Rank
The skies of Nashville, Tenn., ripped open in the early hours of Tuesday, March 3, when an extremely violent storm produced a tornado that tore a 50-mile-long path of destruction across the region. Winds topped 165 miles per hour, and at least 24 people are dead—that number is expected to climb.
The tornado destroyed the densely populated Nashville neighborhoods of Germantown and Five Points, where it demolished businesses and homes. Upon dawn, the city got its first glimpse of the destructive power that it had survived just hours before.
However, it didn’t take long for the city to jump into action. People were beginning to clear debris by the time most would normally be on their way to work in the morning. Temporary shelters were set up, volunteers hit the streets, and donations poured into the numerous charitable organizations working to provide food, shelter, and materials to those who had lost everything.
Nashville’s incredible coffee community was quick to join the recovery process—shops around the city flooded their social media accounts with links to volunteer and donation opportunities. Stay Golden pledged $1 from every drink sold to the Nashville Tornado Relief Fund, and all Frothy Monkey locations accepted donations on behalf of the Community Resource Center.
Local favorites Falcon Coffee Bar have gone above and beyond since the disaster. Not only have they been taking donations, they have been matching them. Falcon has taken food and coffee to various clean-up sites and acted as a drop-off point for donated supplies. They have also been getting bulk items from Sam’s Club on behalf of Hands On Nashville, Gideon’s Army, United Way, and other volunteer organizations.
Sump Coffee is located on the opposite side of the city from the destruction, but that didn’t decrease their desire to help. They’ve generously offered all proceeds from drip coffee sales to go directly to the USBG Nashville’s Tornado Relief Fund for Service Industry Workers. Every dollar goes to members of the food and beverage community that were displaced, put out of work, or otherwise affected by the storm.
Barista Parlor closed all of their locations except one on the day of the tornado. They have since opened back up—excluding their Germantown location, which still doesn’t have power. However, that didn’t stop them from brewing up large quantities of coffee and setting up a free station on the sidewalk outside of the store. And when that wasn’t enough, they drove to work sites and served out of the back of a truck.
Retrograde Coffee also put up free cups of coffee on March 3 to fuel the cleanup efforts, and shortly after, Onyx Coffee Lab donated enough coffee to keep the free drip rolling through the entire week.
The lives lost will never be recovered. Additionally, 20,000 people are still without power as a result of the storm. But Nashville’s inspiring devotion to help strangers through a difficult period will get the city through this time of darkness.