Holiday Giving and 2021 Recap
While we’re looking forward to the new year, we’d be remiss if we didn’t look back and highlight a resilient year, which was capped off by the 2021 Holiday Blend. This year brought about new coffees from established partners and even a few coffees from new partnerships. We even had the privilege of introducing our new branding a few months ago. Like many small businesses, we’ve felt the strain of shipping complications, covid protocols/shutdowns, and prices soaring to new highs. In spite of numerous complications, we look back on this year with gratitude. All in all, we’re truly humbled by the opportunity we have to continue dignifying the immense, skilled work of producers by partnering with them well and by seeing to it that their coffees have an impact on communities through our giving.
This year, as it came time to release our annual Holiday Blend, we began to consider the areas of need that were greatest in our community. One area of need that particularly convicted our team was that of students. Having seen the impact on students of being pulled from community and being removed from the presence of teachers and mentors through school shutdowns and distanced learning, we were certain that we wanted proceeds from Holiday Blend to go toward people who were actively investing in students’ lives; we found just that in Desert Island Supply Co. DISCO, as they’re often called, is a creative writing non-profit and publishing center in Woodlawn.
The team at DISCO are passionate about investing in Birmingham students’ lives through creative writing training. They offer several programs to their students, but one that excites us the most is the work they do in schools. One of our team members actually volunteered with DISCO several years ago while in University and was able to see firsthand the impact made from the in-school creative writing programs. DISCO engages with students by giving them insightful and creative lenses with which to understand their daily lives and offer the tools necessary for students to effectively document their experiences and communicate their dreams. Similar to the joy received by a child whose parents have placed their art on the fridge for everyone to see, DISCO offers joy and empowerment to students by publishing their writing. In any walk of life, when someone communicates that you have worth and the work of your hands is meaningful, that’s truly profound.
This truth is evident in the coffee industry, all the same. We often find that coffee producers, who’ve only sold their coffee to their local buy houses, don’t have a sense that their work is seen or valued. When done well, partnerships between roasters/cooperatives and producers have the ability to empower farmers on a profound level. We believe it is our responsibility to encourage producers with our words and with our partnership, as we believe that everyone has value and is worthy of respect. Sharing stories of producers and lauding them for the works of their hands is impactful and worthwhile work, and we intend to see this work through.