Dean’s Beans supports school feeding programs during pandemic

Published: 6/4/2020 1:47:57 PM
Modified: 6/4/2020 1:47:46 PM

ORANGE — Dean’s Beans, a social justice company that uses coffee to create positive change around the world, has launched a “Kids Stimulus Package” to support Massachusetts school feeding programs as districts continue to provide critical food resources to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, Dean’s Beans has sent $57,000 to area schools, with contributions based on the number of students the district feeds each day.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have seen adults get stimulus checks, banks get stimulus, small businesses and corporations get stimulus, and we think kids need a stimulus, too,” said Dean Cycon, founder and CEO, in a press release. “Their worlds have been turned upside just like ours, and kids should not have to worry about where they are going to get their next meal.”

Early into the pandemic stay-at-home orders, it became apparent to Cycon that food insecurity was going to become even more of an issue. With news about schools continuing their meal programs, Dean’s Beans’ staff contacted area schools to find out exactly how many students were being fed. The numbers were staggering, and led to more conversations with school officials, third-parties and feeding program staff.

“Each question we asked went deeper and led to more exposure of a system completely overwhelmed by need. Every school district operates differently and serves varying numbers of children. But one thing remains consistent — these feeding programs are overextended and underfunded,” Cycon said.

To date, Dean’s Beans has provided critical funding to the following schools: $10,000 to Springfield Public Schools, $10,000 to Greenfield Public Schools, $8,000 to Athol-Royalston Regional School District, $8,000 to Gill-Montague Regional School District, $7,000 to Orange elementary schools, $5,000 to Ralph C Mahar Regional School, $4,000 to Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools, $3,000 to Narragansett Regional School District and $2,000 to Gardner Public Schools.

The company has also launched a “Thousand Pounds of Light” campaign to give away a 1,000 pounds of coffee to people on the front lines and those whose jobs and livelihoods have been directly impacted by the virus and continues to supply food banks, survival centers and other organizations with free coffee. Additionally, Dean’s Beans has provided 65,000 coffee tin ties to home mask makers and small businesses in 14 different states who are using the tins ties to secure face masks that are being distributed for free to frontline workers and first responders.

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