As Hurricane Harvey downgrades yet again to a tropical depression, its effects are still in full force, leaving much of Houston underwater and many of its residents facing circumstances of life and death. With the evacuation shelters reaching capacity, many Houstonians are struggling to acquire basic necessities: food, drinkable water, toiletries, etc. But two barista communities 2,000 miles apart have teamed up with Pacific Foods to donate 40,000 pounds of food to those in need.
The Austin Coffee Society and Portland Coffee Social Club are holding their monthly Thursday Night Throwdowns (TNTs) tonight, and in light of the tragedy currently facing Houston, they have joined forces to help out. Thanks to an incredibly generous donation of 20 tons of food from Pacific Foods, the barista groups are using their TNTs to raise the $3,500 necessary to have the food delivered to Houston.
From Debra L. Kaminsky, Director of Foodservice Marketing at Pacific Natural Foods:
Feeding those in need is an important part of our mission at Pacific Foods. So, it was critical for us to partner with Waterfall Gourmet, our distributor partner located in Austin, and send food to Texas. Pacific also has a longstanding relationship with Feeding America and we are working through them to supply additional food to Texas area food banks.
When asked about their involvment, Portland Coffee Social Club co-founder Elizabeth Chai had this to say:
Portland Coffee Social Club co-founder, Thor Himle, came from the Austin Coffee Society, and his experience there inspired us to create an organization to serve the Portland coffee community. Our monthly event was a TNT scheduled for the same night as the Austin TNT that would be raising funds to freight food to Texas. Since Pacific Foods is a PNW-based brand, we felt this would be an opportunity to send love from Portland to Texas. I’ve seen the coffee community come together so many times during crisis, and when we found out there could be a tangible way we could know exactly where our donations would go, it made perfect sense.
The Austin TNT will be held at Spokesman, a brand new South Austin coffee and beer bar, that will include a silent auction and beer specials to help raise the requisite funds. Portland’s throwdown will take place at Dapper and Wise. Both events begin at 7pm local time.
If you are unable to attend either event but would like to help out, the Austin Coffee Society is accepting donations via Venmo.
Times of crisis are perhaps not the most appropriate moments to pat each other on the back, but there is nonetheless something truly inspiring about watching barista communities come together to help out time and time again.
Know of another fundraiser for Harvey Relief? Let us know in the comments below.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.
*Top image via Austin Coffee Society
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