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Toledo news, weather, traffic and sports | Toledo, Ohio, | wtol.com

Ohio coffee shop giving back to rural Guatemala amid pandemic

When 3-19 Coffee realized their roasters were in need, the shop owners stepped into action.

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — 3-19 Coffee in Shaker Heights just celebrated their grand opening of a location in Ohio City. With business seemingly doing well locally, co-owner Mike Vehar is always checking on his roasters across the country to check on them, as well. He did not get good news.

Vehar learned the pandemic has hit the rural parts of Guatemala very hard. With less demand and decreased labor, the families that grow his coffee beans through a free trade program are struggling to put food on the table. The area is also so rural, supplies to aid in the fight against coronavirus is scarce.

"We've got a lot going on in politics here in the US, but when I learned about what's happening there, I saw how different COVID-19 looked," he says.

The coffee shop is launching an initiative called the Rural Guatemalan Assistance Project. For every $20 raised, a family at high risk of contracting the virus gets food and supplies to stay safe for a month. Others benefiting from the project are a group of all-women coffee growers called Fuerza de Mujeres.

You can donate by clicking here, or by visiting either coffee shop location. By donating, you also get a subscription of the 3-19 coffee, something Vehar points out benefits his growers as well as it supports their livelihood.

The fundraising drive lasts through the end of the month, but could be expanded upon if fundraising goes well.