Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Coffee fundraiser brewing to help fire fighters

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This cup of joe is good for more than just a caffeine kick.

For the third year in a row, the 13th District International Association of Fire Fighters Burn Foundation has teamed up with Mountain Bean Coffee at 2001 Henderson Hwy. to sell a Firehouse blend during the holiday season.

The proceeds raised from selling the coffee will go to support the IAFF Burn Foundation and the Lessard/Nichols Scholarship Foundation. The scholarship, which can be awarded to as many as 10 Manitoba Fire College students annually, was created in memory of Harold Lessard and Tom Nichols, two firefighters who were killed battling a blaze in St. Boniface on Feb. 4, 2007.

The project is being organized by Lionel Crowther, the foundation co-ordinator who worked closely with Lessard and Nichols. He said the project has grown each year, with 200 bags of coffee available for sale this year.

"We’re fortunate that it’s starting to get bigger and bigger every year because people are starting to look for the coffee at Christmastime," Crowther said.

This year’s coffee may taste a little different to those who have supported the cause in the past, as Crowther found a local supplier in De Luca’s for this year’s fundraiser. He noted this year’s coffee is a medium roast instead of the dark roast offered last year.

"We decided to go with an organic, fairly-traded coffee as opposed to just a regular roast," said Crowther, adding the coffee was roasted and ground right before going to market. "On Wednesday (Dec. 12), everything was roasted and ground, and we had it on the shelves for Friday and Saturday (Dec. 14 and 15).

"It’s fresh, not sitting in the bags for a long time."

Mountain Bean owner Keri Parkin said she and business partner Melanie Gauthier, her sister-in-law, got on board with the promotion after taking over the business in 2010.

"We thought it was a good foundation to be a part of," said Parkin. "We decided to put the coffee in our Mountain Bean bags with a foundation sticker.

"We have a good location and Lionel has the great foundation."

For individuals unable to visit the store in person, Crowther and fellow firefighter Jon Hunter will ensure the coffee gets to recipients by offering a delivery service.

"We’ll drive it wherever they are and we’ll meet them or drive right to their house, whatever works for them," Crowther said. "The more we sell, the more we help others."


Sales officially kicked off Dec. 15 with a launch at the store featuring vintage fire trucks and firefighters providing material on fire prevention.

dan.falloon@canstarnews.com

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