There’s been a lot of discussion about how different — and in some cases difficult — the pandemic has been for students. Some have adapted to remote …
>>> WHEN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
HIT BACK IN MARCH, AND THINGS
STARTED SHUTTING DOWN, MANY
BUSINESSES SCRAMBLED TO FIGURE
OUT HOW THEY WERE GOING TO STAY
AFLOAT.
DEAN'S BEANS, A COMPANY WITH A
MISSION STATEMENT TO USE COFFEE
TO CREATE POSITIVE CHANGE AROUND
THE WORLD, CAME UP WITH A
CREATIVE AND UNEXPECTED WAY TO
HELP OUT THEIR NEIGHBORS RIGHT
HERE IN WESTERN NEW ENGLAND.
PRODUCER DAVE FRASER SHARES THIS
STORY AND FULL DISCLOSURE:
DEAN'S BEANS IS A SPONSOR OF
NEPM.
>> DEAN MAKES HIS WAY THROUGH
THE ROASTRY AND WAREHOUSE OF HIS
ORGANIC COFFEE BUSINESS HE
STARTED BACK IN 1993.
THE 67-YEAR-OLD CEO OF DEAN'S
BEANS IN ORANGE, MASSACHUSETTS,
IS ALSO A LAWYER WITH A
BACKGROUND IN ADVOCATING FOR
ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES AND
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE'S RIGHTS.
DEAN'S BEANS RUNS PROGRAMS IN
COUNTRIES THEY GET THEIR COFFEE
FROM, LIKE COLOMBIA, NICARAGUA
AND ETHIOPIA.
THESE PROGRAMS HELP TO SUSTAIN
AND DEVELOP THE FARMERS WHO
PRODUCE THEIR PRODUCT.
>> AND IT WAS A REAL HARD SELL
IN THE COFFEE INDUSTRY FOR MANY,
MANY YEARS, BECAUSE COFFEE
COMPANIES WOULD SAY WHY SHOULD
WE GIVE ANYTHING TO THE FARMERS?
WE ALREADY PAY THEM.
THERE WAS SUCH A DISCONNECT AND
I'M REALLY PROUD THAT LITTLE
DEAN'S BEANS ARE ONE OF THE
SEEDS THAT ALLOWED THIS NEW
AWARENESS IN THE COFFEE INDUSTRY
TO GROW.
>> THE COMPANY WORKS WITH
THOUSANDS OF FARMERS WORLDWIDE
AND DISTRIBUTES ITS ORGANIC
COFFEE ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
LAST YEAR, THEY ROASTED ABOUT
600,000 POUNDS OF COFFEE.
BUT WHEN THE PANDEMIC HIT THIS
PAST SPRING, THEY SAW THEIR
WHOLESALE BUSINESS DROP BY ABOUT
80%, ALMOST OVERNIGHT.
>> SO WE WERE IN TROUBLE.
HOWEVER, I PROMISED ALL THE
EMPLOYEES, NOBODY'S GOING TO GET
LAID OFF, NOBODY'S GOING TO LOSE
THEIR HEALTHCARE, THEIR
BENEFITS.
WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER.
WE'LL MAKE IT WORK.
WE'VE GOT A LINE OF CREDIT, IF
WE'VE GOT TO TAKE IT, WE'LL TAKE
IT.
NOBODY'S LOSING ANYTHING HERE.
AND THEN A MIRACULOUS THING
HAPPENED.
WITHIN A WEEK, OUR WEB SALES
TRIPLED.
>> TRIPLED BECAUSE COFFEE
DRINKERS WERE NOW BREWING MORE
AT HOME DUE TO SOCIAL DISTANCING
AND TELECOMMUTING.
BUT AS NICE AS IT WAS TO HAVE
MONEY COMING IN FROM ONLINE
SALES, HE ADMITS HE FOUND IT
RATHER YOU HAD A AND A LITTLE
UNSETTLING THAT DURING THIS
PANDEMIC, HIS COMPANY WAS MAKING
MORE MONEY THAN THEY WERE BEFOR.
>> WE LOOKED AROUND AND SO MANY
OF THE COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE
SUPPORTED US FOR 27, 28 YEARS
WERE REALLY SUFFERING.
AND WHO WAS SUFFERING THE WORST?
THE KIDS.
SO CHILD HUNGER, FOOD INSECURITY
TO CALL IT A NICER TERM, TRIPLED
IN MANY OF THE COMMUNITIES
AROUND HERE.
AND SO THE SCHOOL FEEDING
PROGRAMS WERE DELUGED WITH KIDS
NOT ONLY BECAUSE THEY'RE
LOW-INCOME BUT NOW, THEIR
PARENTS HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS.
SO CHILD HUNGER WENT FROM BEING
A SLOWBURN PROBLEM AROUND HERE
TO BEING A CRISIS.
>> SCHOOL SYSTEMS LIKE
SPRINGFIELD WHO PRIOR TO THE
PANDEMIC WAS SERVING BREAKFAST,
LUNCH AND A SNACK TO ABOUT
25,000 STUDENTS DAILY, WAS NOW
SEEING A MUCH HIGHER DEMAND FOR
MEALS, ESPECIALLY WITH THE
CITY'S HOMELESS POPULATION
ACCORDING TO FOOD SERVICE
ADMINISTRATOR TIM GRAY.
>> FOR A CERTAIN PORTION OF OUR
STUDENTS, THE MEALS PROGRAM IS
BASICALLY SOMETIMES THE ONLY
MEALS THAT THEY GET EVERY SINGLE
DAY, SO WE THOUGHT IT WAS
IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE SERVICING
THAT, OUR STUDENTS.
WE'RE SERVING ROUGHLY 15,000
MEALS DAILY.
>> DEAN'S BEANS NOT ONLY
CONTRIBUTED FUNDS TO HELP
SPRINGFIELD MAINTAIN THEIR FOOD
SERVICE PROGRAM, BUT IT
ALSO
CONTRIBUTED TO SEVERAL OTHER
SCHOOL DISTRICTS AROUND THE
REGION.
CONTRIBUTIONS WERE BASED ON THE
NUMBER OF STUDENTS THE DISTRICT
FEEDS EACH DAY.
>> THAT'S WHY WE'RE CALLING THE
KIDS STIMULUS PACKAGE.
BANKS GET STIMULUS PACKAGES.
AIRLINES GET STIMULUS PACKAGES.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?
IF THE KIDS DON'T HAVE THOSE
MEALS, THEY CAN'T THINK.
THEY CAN'T FUNCTION.
IF YOU'RE HUNGRY, YOU CAN'T
THINK ABOUT MATH.
YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT YOUR
STOMACH.
WE KNOW THAT.
SO IT'S IMPERATIVE THAT THESE
KIDS GET FED AND THAT'S WHY
WE'RE FOCUSING ON THIS.
>> JUST GREAT TO SEE THAT IN AN
EMERGENCY SITUATION LIKE WE'RE
FACING NOW, THAT SMALL
COMPANIES, BIG COMPANIES, ARE
OUT STEPPING FORTH AND HELPING
OUT THE CAUSE BY HELPING US
FINANCIALLY BECAUSE THAT'S THE
BEST WAY THAT
WE CAN GET
HELP IS
SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUOUSLY
SERVICE OUR STUDENTS IN
THE AREA
AND SURROUNDING AREAS.

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