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Lycoming College is marking today — International Coffee Day — as the jumping off point for a month-long celebration of coffee and fundraising initiatives. For the month of October, the College’s Warrior Coffee Program has pledged to boost support for Warrior Coffee farmers to help sustain them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in these efforts are a virtual coffee tasting event and increased contributions from sales of Warrior Coffee through the Alabaster Coffee Roaster and Tea Co. website.
Since 2013, Lycoming College ventures in the Dominican Republic have continued to provide students with real-world opportunities in which they can apply what they’ve learned about responsible, sustainable development to help a community in need. The events of the coming month will inject much-needed resources into Dominican communities so farmers can continue to safely tend coffee plants during the pandemic, rather than abandon farming in search of opportunities in crowded and distant metropolitan areas.
The month-long effort to boost support for remote mountain farming families in the Dominican Republic, where Warrior Coffee originates, will see Alabaster increase its usual contribution to the Warrior Coffee Program, kicking in $5.25 for every bag of Warrior Gold and Warrior Blue sold on the Alabaster website for the 31-day stretch. Alabaster is a key partner in the journey from bean to brew, roasting Warrior Coffee just blocks from the Lycoming College campus and selling the coffees online.
In addition, a virtual Warrior Coffee tasting event is slated for Saturday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m., via Zoom. Caroline Payne, Ph.D., associate professor of political science and director of the Warrior Coffee Project, and Brittney Gross ’18, former Warrior Coffee international development fellow and current roasting/production lead at Alabaster, will guide virtual attendees through a taste-and-learn event to introduce participants to two single-lot brews available exclusively through this event and not sold elsewhere. Participation is $25 per household, a portion of which will go directly to the Warrior Coffee Project. Call 570.321.4376 or visit https://app.mobilecause.com/form/e8hdLg?vid=bu53v before Oct. 10 to register.
“It is imperative that we respond to the pandemic and act quickly with emergency relief. The survival and success of our mountain farming families not only helps to ensure our investment in the growing enterprises that feed the Warrior Coffee supply chain, but also learning opportunities for our students,” said Payne. “Perhaps most importantly, however, is the immediate delivery of funds that helps the College fulfill its moral obligation to responsibly maintain its relationship with these farmers, which has been carefully fostered for many years. While some funds have already been sent, more is needed and very soon.”
Even without the ability to conduct travel to the Dominican Republic, the Warrior Coffee Project will continue to support ongoing development projects this year and work with farmers to identify new projects needed in light of COVID-19.
Rounding out the month of activities, Payne will be a featured speaker at TEDx Williamsport on Oct. 17, discussing the potential pitfalls of international service learning. Using the framework of the Warrior Coffee project, she will discuss how service organizations can ensure the creation of long-term, sustainable growth in communities where they work and avoid the negative externalities that often accompany international service, avoiding “21st-century colonialism.”
The purchase of Warrior Coffees supports educational opportunities for Lycoming College students to study and conduct research in the developing world. Students from all majors have the chance to learn the science of growing coffee while designing and implementing community and economic development projects relevant to their major. Learn more and make a gift to the program at https://www.lycoming.edu/coffee/.