Gratitude and Giving Back:
We want to share with our Silver Bridge Coffee fans some very exciting news.
Because of your continued support of our company, we have been able to partner with the Café Femenino Foundation to fund 13 early childhood centers in the country of Peru. Most of you know that Silver Bridge Coffee is a woman owned, family supported business. As a mother of 5 children this project in Peru really resonated with me and my family. Even though 2021 has been a difficult year for the entire world, we have been so blessed! Let me share with you why we love Café Femenino and how your support is helping the women and children of Peru.
Café Femenino Foundation was founded in 2004 by Garth and Gay Smith who were importing fair trade, organic coffee from around the world. As the Smiths traveled throughout coffee producing countries, they saw women who had no voice or say in family decisions. They had no control of family resources. These women were poor, uneducated and living in isolation and this contributed to phenomenal rates of abuse. The Smiths no longer import coffee but are committed to the foundation and its work to support and uplift women around the world.
The Café Femenino Foundation is a 501(c)3 IRS licensed non-profit. The foundation is staffed by volunteers and all funds, minus minimal operating expenses, go directly to the women and projects in country. We love this! The foundation is set up to open its ears and hearts to the needs of the women in country. The women submit a request for what they need to the foundation and these requests or grants are then funded and sent to the communities. This method of operating has little or no operational expenses and has proven to be the most practical use of funds. The Foundation funds many different grants within the country.
They address food security with food storage, quinoa and community gardens. The Foundation provides safe spaces for women to meet called Case Café Feminino where women can meet without borrowing space from men and these houses also serve as temporary shelters for women and children escaping abuse. The foundation promotes gender equality and seeks to empower women through leadership training.
The Café Femenino Foundation supports the respiratory health of women by providing stoves with proper ventilation. They also support second income grants so that women can diversify their income. Finally, they support early childhood centers to promote nutrition and hygiene in children under 5 years of age.
I began Silver Bridge Coffee in 2008 when the oldest of my 5 children went to college and my youngest went to kindergarten. I heard about Café Femenino at a coffee conference in 2009. I knew I wanted to support this organization. It took me over a year to put aside enough capital to purchase a pallet of Café Femenino Peru coffee. We now order almost 23,000 lbs of Café Femenino Peru annually.
We are very aware that this growth is because of our customers who choose to purchase Silver Bridge Coffee and we are so thankful for you. I did not realize when I began roasting coffee in 2008 that roasting coffee in the United States is a very male dominated career. Believe me, I have my “stories” of inequality personally and have had to struggle to build my business and gain respect from other male coffee roasters and coffee shop owners. I believe these struggles contribute to my desire to support the Café Femenino foundation and the women in Peru who are struggling to better their lives and the lives of their children.
We love all the Café Femenino Foundation projects, but Silver Bridge Coffee has chosen to fund the early childhood centers in two regions of Peru. When the project began in 2013 one of its primary goals was to address the nutrition needs of young children. At the time the number of children with malnutrition exceeded 40%. Here is what the money donated to the early childhood centers supports:
- Parents receive education on proper use of foods with higher nutritional values
- Parents are educated in techniques to stimulate their children using psychomotor activities
- Funds support a traveling nurse who visits the schools and monitors the height and weight of the children and checks lunchboxes for nutrition
- Children are given toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and wash clothes
- Children are supplied with crayons, glue, paper and lunchboxes
- Children are given mats for the floor where they sit and play in each center
We are so blessed to have this opportunity to give back because of our loyal customers who choose to wake up each morning to a cup of Silver Bridge Coffee. Although 2020 has been a year of struggle, we are blessed in so many ways. We hope that you join us in excitement for this opportunity to give back. If you would like more information about the Café Femenino foundation or wish to make an additional donation visit CF Foundation Online.
This article was written by Lorraine Walker, Owner of Silver Bridge Coffee, and an expert in Peruvian coffee and all things coffee related.