On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. The Category 4’s 155 mph winds barreled across the island, leaving 3.4 million residents without power and destroying about 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s crops, including 90 percent of Puerto Rico’s coffee farms. What had taken farmers generations to build was completely lost and decimated within a few hours. Rich jungle forests filled with coffee trees, the pride of Puerto Rico, have been reduced to little more than barren branches and twisted stumps.
Of all the agricultural products produced on the island, few have the same cultural heartbeat as coffee. Puerto Rican coffee used to be called the “coffee of popes and kings,” because in the 19th century the Vatican exclusively served Puerto Rican coffee. For many Puerto Ricans, coffee is far more than an agricultural product- it’s part of their national identity.
While we continue to hear about the devastation and slow return of basic services to the island, there has been a clear cry from the people of Puerto Rico for a taste of home. Unfortunately, coffee is considered a ‘luxury item’ by many aid organizations, which means that doctors, nurses, teachers, and construction workers on the island are doing their best to overcome the impossible, without the aid of their favorite beverage. We think the hard working people of Puerto Rico deserve the dignity and normalcy only a cup of coffee can deliver, now more than ever before, and Thanksgiving Coffee is here to help.
Two very different non-profit organizations have joined forces to start a Coffee Aid Drive to get coffee to the people of Puerto Rico: The Hogwarts Running Club and Convoy of Hope. Since it’s inception only a few short years ago, the Hogwarts Running Club has combined the fandom of the Harry Potter book series and running for health and fitness into an online organization 60k that has raised over $1.2 million in charitable donations. Convoy of Hope has been around since 1994 and specializes in the transportation and distribution of food and supplies for disaster relief. Together, these two groups are gathering donations for 12-16oz packages of caffeinated, pre ground coffee to send to Puerto Rico.
When Thanksgiving Coffee was approached about the Coffee Aid drive, we knew we could make a real difference to the people of Puerto Rico by helping to send delicious, ethically sourced coffee with a message of love. So far, over 600 packages of coffee have been ordered from Thanksgiving Coffee and over 2,000 packages have been donated to the Coffee Aid Drive. Would you like to contribute? You still can!
From now until December 10th, you can buy a bag of our special Coffee Aid coffee Salazar’s Brew for just $8- no tax, no shipping. Each bag includes the price of shipping it to the Convoy of Hope warehouse where all the Coffee Aid donations will be sent until the December 15th deadline. After that, tons of donated coffee packages will be palletized and transported to the island to help the people of Puerto Rico enjoy the familiar taste of home.
Puerto Rico’s road to recovery will be a long and arduous one, but perhaps it will be a bit more bearable with a cup of coffee in hand.