Commonplace Coffee’s Hello Neighbor Blend Benefits Refugees In Pittsburgh
The yearlong partnership kicks off with a pop-up event Saturday at the Squirrel Hill location
Your next cup of joe could help refugees starting over in Pittsburgh.
Commonplace Coffee and Hello Neighbor, an Allegheny County-based, federally approved resettlement organization, debuted their collaboration blend this month. It will be available in 12-ounce bags priced at $18.75 at all six Commonplace locations through July 31, 2023. The local roaster will donate 25% of sales to Hello Neighbor.
“All of the money raised goes straight back into our mission supporting new neighbors as they rebuild their lives from scratch,” says Sloane Davidson, who founded Hello Neighbor in 2017 “The consistency of a yearlong partnership provides funds that have the ability to affect every area of our programming and we’re incredibly grateful.”
On Saturday, July 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the partners will host a pop-up event at Commonplace Coffee’s Squirrel Hill café at 5827 Forbes Ave. Visitors can peruse local vendor tables and stock up on bags or order by the cup.
The brew, which has a balanced body, malic acidity and chocolatey notes, contains coffee sourced from Guatemala and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, two countries on Hello Neighbor’s refugee roster. The blend will be available in drip form at all Commonplace sites throughout the weekend. More pop-ups will happen throughout the year.
The organization assists around 250 individuals per month with refugee resettlement, housing support, job readiness and employment placements, education and programming for mothers and children. Hello Neighbor Network, a coalition of grassroots organizations working in post-refugee resettlement, is inspiring change and growth throughout the United States.
Refugees hail from 17 countries, including Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Rwanda, Bhutan, Myanmar and more. There are more than 82.4 million forcibly displaced people around the world today seeking protection.
Through the peak of the pandemic, Hello Neighbor supported families with the Refugee Assistance Fund, a cash assistance program, ran donation drives and distribution of essential items and launched a remote tutoring service for youth.
Hello Neighbor expanded the scope of their services this year and received federal approval to provide resettlement in Allegheny County. Since January, the group has resettled 206 Afghans, secured 60 permanent housing units, enrolled 63 kids in school, and had more than 700 volunteer hours logged.
Pittsburghers, including entire families, who want to serve as mentors are strategically matched with refugees based on geographic proximity, family composition, availability and interest areas. The initial time commitment is a minimum of 10 hours per month for six months, but many of the relationships turn into lifelong friendships.
“There are so many ways to get involved from mentoring and tutoring to helping with housing setups, legal assistance for our new legal department and more. We’re also launching Community Sponsorship Teams this fall,” Davidson says.
In addition to an annual fundraiser (Home Sweet Home will be held on Sept. 18 at the Heinz History Center), Hello Neighbor runs campaigns and partnerships throughout the year. In the past they’ve teamed up with love, Pittsburgh, Scratch & Co., City of Asylum, White Whale Bookstore, Bakluva and Lark Adventurewear and the Lawrenceville Cookie Tour.
The Hello Neighbor offering marks Commonplace Coffee’s seventh donation coffee blend, the majority of which came about in the past few years stemming from pandemic-related desires to connect and support the community.
The company keeps its charitable partners involved in the process.
“It’s a chance for Commonplace to offer insights about coffee production as well as our coffee program, and we get to learn more about the incredible work our partners do,” says Lauren Young, marketing and communications manager for Commonplace Coffee. “Specifically, our partners get to suggest blend components, take part in tastings, and contribute ideas to the coffee label design process. We also work together on signage and events to get our communities excited about the release as well.”
Most collaborative coffees last eight weeks and release at the beginning of each season.
Davidson says the yearlong partnership is a dream come true.
“When you think about our network of supporters, who will now be purchasing their coffee from Commonplace Coffee, and Commonplace’s network of buyers who will now be keyed into our work — the potential for fundraising doesn’t have a limit.”