Buy a Bag, Help a Community
Last week, we announced that we'd be donating $5 for every bag of Guatemalan coffee we sell (both online and in-store) in the month of June to help victims of the devastating eruption of Volcán de Fuego.
Literally translated to "Volcano of Fire," Volcán de Fuego has been active at a low level for a number of years now. However, it hasn't had an eruption anywhere near this magnitude since the 1970s. It happened so rapidly that many did not have a chance to flee, and has left entire villages covered in ash and dust or buried all together. Currently, the numbers sit at an estimated 114 dead, with many more injured or missing.
Since many of the communities that were hugely impacted were coffee farmers living in the area where we get some of our Guatemalan coffee from, we wanted to see if we could specifically target our aid to help these coffee farmers' communities and families in their efforts to get supplies, rebuild, and redo their ruined coffee crops. That goal brought us to Radical Missions.
What is Radical Missions?
Radical Missions is a non-profit NGO founded in 2010 and run entirely by volunteers that focuses all of its efforts in Guatemala. Their philosophy is giving a "hand up" rather than a "hand out," meaning that they understand that lasting change begins with investing in people, and giving individuals the skills and support they need so that they, in turn, can reinvest and lift up their communities.
We found Radical Missions because of their current fundraising campaign, which is focusing on Guatemalan coffee farming communities directly affected by the eruption.
Where & How Will Your Contribution Be Spent?
Radical Mission's Chairman, Stephen Cassar, informed me that they have identified at least fifty coffee growing villages in need of aid. Of those fifty, they are already working with five to start with: Rochela, Ceilan, San Andreas Osuna, Chuchu, and San Vicente (a total population of about 18,500 people).
Short term, money donated to the fund will be going toward the purchase of food, bottled water, and medical supplies for the communities. Beyond that, the priority, both long and short term, will be regaining access to clean water, since the destructive lava and lahar (volcanic mudslide) flows have ruined access to clean water in many locations, and need to be cleared.
Radical Missions have hired trucks to deliver 3,000-6,000 gallons of bottled water per village per week during the rebuilding process, and they will be helping the community repair damaged pipes, build and install new water tanks, and/or building enclosed tanks around springs to keep ash out. They have already begun clearing lahar from the river by the first village in order to restore flow, as you can see in the photo below.
Stephen Cassar and I discussed that for a few of these coffee growing communities, this is the third time in 100 years that they've had to rebuild. This is the case for the village Morelia, which was essentially wiped off the map by the eruption. Each time, the community comes together to rebuild, despite the circumstances and the danger involved and any advisory against it. After all, this is their home and their livelihood! The good news is that our donations can go a long way toward helping all of the communities, both closest and furthest from the volcano that were affected. If we raise $250, we could cover one week's purchasing and delivery cost of one of those 3k gallon truckloads of water. For $5000 we could even fund the entire cost of a new water tank!
Once again, the link to donate directly to Guatemalan coffee farmers via Radical Missions is right here! Otherwise, you can swing by the mill (or click here for Antigua or here for Huehuetenango) to buy the Guatemalan coffees that we offer, and we'll donate $5 for every bag that we sell in June. Muchas gracias in advance for your contribution and support!
All photos provided by Radical Missions. More below:
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