In Part I, we learned how Food4KidsWR stepped up to feed over 600 hungry children in our region every day that the schools were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. This put their spending hundreds of thousands of dollars above their projected budget for the year. Coffee4Kids has a goal to sell 10,000 bags of coffee before the end of this year. All of the profit from every bag sold goes directly to Food4KidsWR so that they can continue to do their incredible work of feeding children who suffer every day from food insecurity.
The Coffee4Kids Story: Mike Brown
It was about two years ago that Mike Brown, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer and resident “Nice Guy” at Fibernetics, was enjoying a cup of coffee at a friend’s wedding at The Hacienda Sarria. He looked across the bar at their coffee roaster and was struck by the idea that he could roast and sell his own coffee.
It seemed the perfect opportunity to teach his then ten-year old son about entrepreneurship, running a business, profits, and margins. Plus, he has the name. “I was going to call it Brown’s Fine Grounds Coffee Company.”
He started thinking about bag designs and logos and went out and bought a commercial coffee roaster. But when he set it up in the office warehouse, he ran into trouble. The space required expensive electrical upgrades to support the roaster’s three-phase electricity.
Taking some time out to figure out his next steps, Mike was again at The Hacienda Sarria, attending a Food4KidsWR breakfast. He heard Kelly-Sue Oberle talk about the challenges Food4KidsWR was having raising money to help feed the 2500 kids in the Waterloo Region who suffer every day with food insecurity.
Mike himself has had a lot of experience with fundraising, and understands only too well the difficulties of asking for money.
“I’d volunteered for four years with another local charity, and fundraising is a huge challenge. People are always being asked to donate to various causes: their kids’ hockey teams, school fundraisers, charities who knock on their doors. They’re all worthy, but after a while it gets harder and harder to ask the same people for money.”
Sitting there at the Food4Kids breakfast in the beautiful Hacienda Sarria, he was struck with the inspiration for Coffee4Kids.
He thought, “Wait a second. I’m teaching my son about the wrong things. He’s ten; he doesn’t need to learn about running a business, making money, and profits. I need to be setting an example, teaching him to do good things for other people.”
Profits from every bag of coffee sold go directly to buying food for starving children in Waterloo Region.
And so Coffee4Kids was born. Instead of roasting and selling his own coffee, Mike planned to source good-quality coffee at wholesale prices, re-sell it, and donate all the profits to Food4KidsWR. Mike purchased a Shopify site and had help designing the website and the labels for the bags from Fibernetics’s graphics guru, Mike Young. All he had left to do was source the coffee.
It was important to Mike that the coffee be enjoyable. He was tasting a lot of different coffees at that time and wanted one that would really appeal to the majority of people.
One evening, Dave Fedy was over at Mike’s house. Dave is a local lawyer who likes to be involved in helping others at any level he can. “He saw all the coffee bags and marketing materials and stickers strewn across the dining room table and he asked me what all this Coffee4Kids stuff was.”
Coffee4Kids has five different roasts to choose from and all the profits from every purchase go directly to Food4KidsWR
Dave listened to Mike’s plans and about his search for the perfect coffee to sell. Dave suggested that Mike try the coffee at The Hacienda Sarria; they had been roasting their own beans for years, getting feedback from customers and developing multiple blends with a wide appeal.
Remembering that cup of coffee at the wedding months earlier, Mike headed over to talk to Nadine Doyle at The Hacienda Sarria, where the idea had all begun.
Find out what happened next in Part III, coming soon.
Help Coffee4Kids Sell 10,000 Bags of Coffee by December 31st!
Every bag of coffee purchased through Coffee4Kids provides a bag of food which feeds one hungry child for a weekend. Help Coffee4Kids reach their goal of selling 10,000 bags by December 31st by going to Coffee4Kids.ca, and ordering your freshly roasted whole-bean or pre-ground coffee today. Coffee can be picked up from The Hacienda Sarria or delivered to your home or office.
Kelly-Sue Oberle, Mike Brown, and Food4Kids staff inspect Coffee4Kids coffee, excited at the prospect of how this initiative can support hungry kids in Waterloo Region.