BACK OF THE YARDS — Coffee lovers can support a Southwest Side community group by buying beans from a local shop.
Back of the Yards Coffee, 2059 W. 47th St., has launched a fundraiser, giving a portion of coffee bean sales to The Southwest Collective. The shop created the 47th Street blend with members from the Southwest Collective, co-owner Jesse Iñiguez said.
The 12-ounce bag costs $15.99, with $7 of the proceeds going back to the Southwest Collective, Iñiguez said. The 47th Street blend is being sold at the shop and online.
Formed in 2019, the Southwest Collective spearheads community initiatives in Archer Heights, Back of the Yards, Brighton Park, Gage Park, Ashburn, Chicago Lawn, West Lawn, West Elsdon, Clearing, Garfield Ridge and Scottsdale.
Starting in February, the group organized the Food Here program, employing laid-off restaurant workers to prepare meals for hundreds of families struggling through the pandemic. Other programs include a Green Space project to address environmental concerns, small business support and an exchange program called Freebies For Families, Executive Director Jaime Groth Searle said.
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The group’s mission is to “break down barriers and build up communities” for Southwest Side families, Searle said. The coffee shop fundraiser will offset some of the costs for the group’s initiatives and launch a scholarship fund for Southwest Side students.
“This money [from the fundraiser] is going to be a huge help,” Searle said.
The Southwest Collective eventually hopes to build a regional chamber of commerce where local businesses and community groups can partner with one another to benefit the community, Searle said. The partnership is also a promising example of how businesses and community groups can “support each other in a meaningful way,” Searle said.
Since opening the shop, Iñiguez and Mayra Hernandez have worked with neighbors and groups trying to uplift the community, Iñiguez said. They strive for their business to have a social impact, develop the local economy, be environmentally responsibe and create relationships, Iñiguez said.
Iñiguez is a firm believer in the adage, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
“For us, it’s very true. We made it and our success was made possible because of the investment — both money and time — that adults put on us when we were young,” Iñiguez said.
The shop owners want to partner with more organizations to allow customers to buy coffee and support groups “doing good work” in the community, Iñiguez said.
“Our goal is to leave our mark and have an impact on the present and future of our community, just like it did with us,” Iñiguez said. “It’s our turn to give back.”
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