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Special Relief Fund for Coffee Grower Co-ops Impacted by Hurricane Stan
Press release from Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers, Date: October 13, 2005
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Click for larger image
Child in Chiapas region
Photo Taken by Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers on previous trip to Chiapas, Mexico

Terrible landslides and flooding due to heavy rains from Hurricane Stan have killed over 700 in Guatemala and Mexico in the past weeks.  The rains have destroyed the homes and coffee plantations of thousands in the Lake Atitlan region, and in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.   The coffee grower cooperatives that export organic and fair trade coffee from these areas have asked for support from the coffee community.  Urgent action is needed.  

A large scale relief effort is being coordinated by Portland, Oregon-based Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers, through a partnership with the non-profit Ecologic Development Fund of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  A special non profit fund for coffee growers has been set up to accept contributions from coffee roasters and coffee drinkers to provide needed  support to growers in both Guatemala and Mexico.  

The donations are being accepted by Ecologic Development Fund, which is a tax deductible 501©3 organization.  The money will be then sent directly to Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan’s APOCS  co-op and to Mexico’s Chiapas CESMACH co-op, two  fair trade coffee grower cooperatives who will coordinate the purchase of food, medicine and other essentials for several thousand coffee grower members and their families who have been impacted by Hurricane Stan.

"These coffee cooperatives immediately mobilized  their organization into emergency mode to help the growers who are impacted by the destruction from Hurricane Stan,” says David Griswold, President of Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers. “They’ve turned the organization warehouse into temporary housing, and they’ve set up a plan to provide relief to the surrounding communities.”

The cooperatives have set up action committees, and designated one agent from each community as the link to the co-op and the support that becomes available.  
“These coffee cooperatives are well suited  to provide essential services to the growers, something they do year-round, but never with this sort of urgency and at this level of need.” Griswold explains.  “ Our role as members of the coffee community is to do all we can to raise the funds that these growers will need to get back on their feet, and make sure that all the money gets right into the hands of the farmers and their families who need the help most. “

How to contribute to the fund:

Checks - Make payable to Ecologic Development Fund - and note in the memo field either Guatemala  Lake Atitlan Grower Fund or Chiapas Mexico Grower Fund.
Send checks to Sustainable Harvest Coffee, 721 NW 9th Street, Suite 235, Portland, OR 97209.

Credit Cards donations: Credit card donations can be made directly to the Ecologic Development Fund for Coffee Grower Relief by going to Sustainable Harvest: http://www.sustainableharvest.com/coffeefund/index.html

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