When Disaster Strikes, Community Coffee Reaches Out With a Familiar Comfort

Community Coffee Company has maintained a longstanding partnership with the American Red Cross, particularly when disaster strikes, by providing free cups of coffee to community members in need as well as the volunteers and professionals who lend them a helping hand.

That support for the American Red Cross and other emergency response organizations across the southeast United States spans well over a decade. The company donated 1.6 million cups of coffee after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav, and after tornadoes struck Moore, Oklahoma, in 2013.

The past year has been a tumultuous one in Louisiana, which saw four major natural disasters over a 12-month period continuing into 2017 — from historic flooding across the state to devastating tornadoes in New Orleans East and surrounding areas. During flooding in Southeast Louisiana, Community Coffee provided more than 300,000 free cups of coffee to evacuees and first-responders.

“Our clients are huge consumers of coffee, and Community Coffee has been an amazing partner,” says Joshua Joachim, regional chief executive for the American Red Cross of Louisiana.

A Small Touch of Normalcy

To assist evacuees and other clients of the Red Cross of Louisiana, Community Coffee donates coffee to be served in Red Cross of Louisiana disaster shelters and via the organization's emergency-response vehicles, which distribute food and supplies in disaster areas. Coffee is always a high-demand item in shelters, Joachim says, and having a familiar local brand is a welcome sight for people who are coping with a disaster.

“Clients come into our shelters when they are opened here in Louisiana, and they expect coffee,” he says. “The Community® brand is a local coffee that really comforts them. They know what it is. After you’ve been impacted by a disaster and you’ve lost everything, you sometimes look for some normalcy. That local brand being in our shelters is something that brings normalcy to someone who’s been affected by a disaster.”

Fuel for Volunteers

8-3-17_Salvation-Army_900x448Volunteers are an integral part of the Red Cross’ disaster-response efforts, as well as its day-to-day operations, with more than a million Americans volunteering their time and skills with the organization to serve their communities and provide essential services to those in need. Red Cross volunteers from all 50 states deployed to Louisiana to assist in recovery efforts during the flooding that impacted the Greater Baton Rouge region.

Like evacuees and others served by the Red Cross, volunteers are often coffee lovers, Joachim says, and Community Coffee has stepped up to supply those who generously provide their time to help others. Community also furnishes Red Cross offices in Louisiana with coffee free of charge.

“At the Red Cross, a cup of coffee is more than just a beverage,” Joachim says. “It’s an opportunity for our volunteers to take a break and sit back before going out and helping others in the response and recovery process. It’s a huge part of our volunteer culture at the American Red Cross.”