It’s rare that you can support a community cause simply by doing what you always do. But, for the month of August, an array of Asheville coffee shops and local businesses have partnered with Buncombe County Special Olympics to make supporting Special Olympic athletes as simple as drinking coffee.
The business partners for Coffee for Champions can be identified by window stickers featuring the project logo. Participating businesses have agreed to contribute one cent per cup of coffee sold throughout the month of August.
Ryan Prentiss (aka the Coffee Pedlar, a bike-based coffee cart often posted on the edge of Pritchard Park) became an early participant as Coffee for Champions opened recruitment. He notes, “I want to support Buncombe County Special Olympics because I believe in the value of allowing folks with intellectual challenges to realize their physical potential.”
Coffee for Champions has already connected with over 20 local coffee purveyors and hopes to connect with more throughout the month. The intent of the program is to drive customers to the participating businesses and to raise awareness of Buncombe County Special Olympics overall. The project will use social media to highlight partner businesses throughout the month. The hope is that the discussion surrounding Coffee for Champions will generate further awareness of local Special Olympics athletes and their accomplishments.
Karla Furnari, an organizer with Buncombe County Special Olympics says of the project, “We are doing this campaign more for the support and awareness of our athletes and their accomplishments rather than the fundraising aspect. Encouragement and local backing goes a long way with our athletes and they are always excited to interact with members of the community.”
As an added incentive for the community to embrace the project, Buncombe County Special Olympics will be awarding one set of four, one-day Walt Disney World “Park Hopper” passes through a social media based photo contest. Coffee drinkers are asked to use the tag #coffee4champs on their photo posts and tag Coffee for Champions and the business where they purchased their coffee. Buncombe County Special Olympics staff will compile all of the photos in early September and will conduct a poll for the community favorites. The passes will be presented to the photographer with the highest number of votes.
Businesses interested in participating in the event can contact Buncombe County Special Olympics via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 828.250.4265.