CHICAGO – Nonprofit development organization Coffee Kids will launch their third annual Grow it Forward campaign, running September 15 through October 31, to reduce hunger in coffee-growing communities. Last year they raised $30,000 to put toward food security projects throughout Latin America.
The campaign began with an early kickoff and silent auction sponsored by the Roasters Guild, an official trade guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The Chicago coffee community has also shown their support for smallholder farmers and their families. This support will be celebrated at an open house event on September 18 at 7 pm at the Counter Culture Training Center (177 N Ada St, Chicago).Chicago-based staff are available for interviews.
In much of Central America, the coffee harvest ends around the end of February. Three months later, most families have spent their meager income and must find a way to feed their families for the remainder of the year. Coffee-farming families face three to eight months of hunger every year, leading to chronic disease and malnutrition. These months of diminished resources are called the thin months.
Hunger, though, now goes beyond the thin months. Never has food security been as urgent as it is now. Central America is currently suffering its worst drought in 32 years. The United Nations World Food Program estimates that due to coffee leaf rust and current climatic conditions, as many as 2.5 million people in the region are struggling to feed themselves. Loss of crops and livestock also means that families have little to subsist on after the money from the coffee harvest has been spent. Coffee Kids projects such as drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting, pig rearing and backyard gardens help families weather these crises by creating long-term solutions to chronic seasonal hunger.
At Coffee Kids we create partnerships with coffee-growing communities and with those engaged in the specialty coffee industry to achieve our vision of: a world in which coffee farmers thrive; a world in which coffee-farming communities are self-sustaining; and a global coffee community in which everyone has an equal seat at the table. We work to make this vision a reality through the promotion of self-determination among coffee farmers. Our partnerships address the roots of poverty by helping coffee-farming families and communities determine their own vision of the future. Together we are laying the foundation for a sustainable future for these families and for the entire coffee industry.
Coffee Kids currently supports projects managed by 10 partner organizations in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. These projects, which are developed and implemented by our partner organizations with financial and technical support from Coffee Kids, focus on economic diversification, food security, skill building, health care and education.