Local coffee shop roasts special beans to benefit Ukraine

NOW: Local coffee shop roasts special beans to benefit Ukraine

ST. JOSEPH, Mi. -- In the immediate wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Forte Coffee's owner, Brian Maynard-- no stranger to charitable endeavors-- looked for a way to help those who are struggling to stay alive, as they flee from combat zones or try to hang on to the homes they still have.

“It was difficult, obviously, like everyone watching the news and seeing what was going on over there, and we wanted to do something," Maynard said. “We decided to create Ukraine Hope.”

A new special roast of coffee beans-- and for every bag sold, $10 are raised for World Central Kitchen, a charitable organization that is currently providing food to Ukrainian refugees and civilians. 

“I was aware that they were doing some feeding programs in Poland and in Ukraine and decided that was the best way for us to make a contribution," said Maynard. 

This new roast has already seen some approval from Ukrainians here in Michiana.

Maynard said “We have a regular customer who comes in and he happens to be from Ukraine. He happened to be in here the morning after the invasion and he was sharing some information about his family and the difficulty he was having in getting in touch with them, and I mentioned we were doing this and he seemed very very grateful for the effort.”

The beans first went on sale about two weeks ago, and Maynard said it's been a struggle to keep up with the demand. 

“People have been coming to all three of our locations asking for it, and in fact, the demand was so great, we actually ran out," he said. "We typically roast two to three days a week, so we were out of coffee, at least this particular blend, for about a day and a half. We roasted last week, this week, frankly, we roasted a lot more, and we’re almost through it.”

The beans can be purchased at each of the three Forte Coffee locations either in St. Joe or Benton Harbor-- or they can be purchased online on their website: HOME | Forté Coffee (forte.coffee)

More information on World Center Kitchen can be found at: https://wck.org

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