In January, Deeper Roots Coffee Roasters held a fundraising event for BLOC Coffee Company manager Rhett Harkins, who fell 60 feet while hiking in Red River Gorge in December. It took 20 men and eight hours to get Harkins out alive. He has since undergone multiple surgeries and is recovering well, but he can't work and his medical bills are mounting. Which is why Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky's speciality coffee shops are rallying around Harkins to raise money to offset his medical costs.
Deeper Roots' December Latte Art Throwdown fundraiser pulled together 16 baristi from 16 different shops in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Northern Kentucky. Harkins judged the event, which raised $1,700 to help cover the costs of his ambulance transportation, from his wheelchair.
Now, Justin Carabello, owner of Carabello Coffee of Newport, Ky., has coordinated an effort with six local shops to serve and sell a special roast called “Restore Coffee” that will benefit the Harkins family through the month of February. The roast is a Sumatra Natural Wahana and is available at Collective Espresso, Rohs Street Café, BLOC Coffee Company, Hilltop Cafe, Velocity Bike & Bean, Missio Dei Church and Carabello.
“I am amazed at how quick the other shop owners have been willing to jump on board with this idea," Carabello says. "Let's face it, we are all using different roasters in our shops, so, doing this is far from normal. But we all love Rhett, and the idea here is a simple one: Our friend is hurt and we want to do something to help him. This is what communities do, and I believe that the silver lining in all of this is that Rhett’s suffering has helped us all take a step toward unifying this community.”
Through February, you can walk into any of the aforementioned coffee shops and buy a cup or a bag of Restore Coffee to benefit the family. The blend is also available on Carabello Coffee's website.