Sisters’ Story Café in Guelph, Ontario supports 47 women’s shelters across Canada

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Across Canada, 47 shelters and women’s centers receive a donation every time a coffee lover makes an online purchase at the new Sisters’ Story Coffee in Guelph, Ontario.

If a buyer selects Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region (WCSWR) or Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis from the drop-down menu at checkout, 15% of the proceeds from the sale will go to this organization that helps vulnerable women.

“In our organization, these funds will be used to directly support programs that help women and children who are victims of domestic violence in our community,” Jennifer Hutton, CEO of WCSWR, said in an email.

Sisters’ Story Coffee is a new brand launched by Sumac Community Worker Co-op, an organization that owns Planet Bean of Guelph, a coffee company founded in 1997 by Bill Barrett.

Brewed idea 2 years

Last week, Sumac announced the official launch of Sisters’ Story Coffee, with connection and financial support to 47 Canadian Women’s Centers. But the idea for Sisters’ Story Coffee originated two years ago, according to Barrett.

“We started looking for other ways to do our business. We’ve had this really cool relationship for many years with a women’s cooperative in Peru, Café Femenino. Although Planet Bean is a regional and local business, we figured we could take this thing national and have more of an impact for farmers in Peru? “

Bill Barrett and Lisa Schincarol McMurtry of Planet Bean Café, with Sisters’ Story Coffee. (Andrew Coppolino / CBC)

Sisters’ Story Coffee only purchases Café Femenino coffee beans, which are then roasted by Planet Bean. The cooperative is located in the Andes of northern Peru, a country in South America with a Pacific coast and a population of around 33 million.

Sisters’ Story is a separate brand to buy online only, according to Barrett. A business model allows Sumac to make a large donation to organizations.

“Because we are a social enterprise, we share a portion of the revenue associated with the sale of Sisters’ Story to organizations across the country. ”

According to Lisa Schincarol McMurtry, Sisters’ Story Coffee community liaison officer, the twinning between the Peruvian cooperative and the women’s centers here is ideal.

“Agencies really like the idea of ​​working in solidarity with women around the world and women across Canada, and adopting an ethical fundraising model. They really appreciate that Sumac carries their values ​​throughout their operations.

Café Femenino key role

While coffee production in Peru and other parts of the world is largely the responsibility of women, they do not share much of the economic benefits despite their hard work. Many women also experience sexual violence, and they and their children suffer physical violence.

Barrett said many women in parts of Peru thought their experience of abuse and exploitation was unique to them, but learned that was not the case.

Planet Bean Café, Guelph, Ont. (Andrew Coppolino / CBC)

So while we might assume that aid and social support generally travels “north to south”, this is a case where the reverse occurs.

“What Café Femenino has decided to do is tell the roasters and coffee vendors here that if you sell our beans, we want them to support a local women’s organization,” Barrett said.

Hutton appreciates that the decision to donate to violence against women organizations came directly from the farmers of Café Femenino themselves. “Seventy percent of women in this region are survivors of physical and sexual violence.

Trying to correct the inequalities and alleviate the violence they suffered, Peruvian women created Café Femenino as their own brand, and they sell it through fair trade and organic channels to coffee companies like Sisters’ Story. .

The growth of cooperative businesses such as Caf̩ Femenino has seen investments in local Peruvian economies and the education of children Рespecially young girls, according to Hutton.

Women have come under increased pressure and have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, so it is particularly astonishing to see this initiative to support women come together at this time.– Jennifer Hutton, Waterloo Women’s Crisis Services

“Over the years, Femenino coffee has changed the home economy,” he said. “Women are making money and husbands are more supportive. They invest in their children and girls in remote rural villages go to university.

In Waterloo Region and Wellington County, as well as in women’s centers across Canada, selling Sisters’ Story Coffee, made from beans from Café Femenino in Peru, is a timely investment, Hutton says. .

“During the pandemic, we have seen rates of violence against women increase around the world,” Hutton said, noting that women faced additional burdens at the same time.

“Women have been under increased pressure and have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, so it is particularly astonishing to see this initiative to support women come together at this time. “


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