In times of community need, the coffee industry steps up. When natural disasters strike, throwdowns worldwide help to raise relief funds. When the VERY ILLEGAL immigration ban was enacted by the president back in 2017, the coffee industry raised nearly half a million dollars for the ACLU. And now, American coffee shops and restaurants face multiple moments of impact: the global pandemic and the wider, ongoing civil rights movement happening now worldwide under the banner of Black Lives Matter.

Enter Food Industry Action, a nationwide fundraiser put on by restaurants and cafes benefitting the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The way the fundraiser works is simple: on June 27th, participating businesses across the country donate 5% of the day’s sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. There’s no middleman to take a cut or mismanage the funds, just businesses coalescing around a single goal and point in time to bring about change.

Food Industry Action is the product of Lauren Culley and Jeff Excell, co-owners of Columbus, Ohio’s Fox In The Snow (who has appeared previously on Sprudge as part of our Build-Outs of Summer series and in our Columbus city guide), who have teamed up with Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, another Columbus-based business but with a much larger national footprint thanks to over 40 scoop shops and large scale grocery store distribution. (Which reminds me, I would like an affogato sometime soon.)

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Because of the pandemic’s effect on cafe sales and cashflow, Food Industry Action is keeping the donation percentage at the relatively low 5% in hopes that more businesses will be able to take part, each chipping in a small sum to total something greater. “We are stronger together. If the entire service industry banded together it would be an incredibly powerful voice in America,” Excell states. “This is an attempt to bring all restaurants, food spaces, coffee shops, and cafes together to make a statement about what we believe and who we stand up for, even during a time when the industry is hurting. The campaign is about getting a massive donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which has a long history of using their power to defend the rights of the Black community.”

Currently, over 70 businesses comprising 100+ locations across 22 states and Washington, DC have pledged to take part in Food Industry Action’s June 27th fundraiser. Many coffee companies are already in on the effort, including Fox in the Snow, Ghostlight Coffee, Methodical Coffee, Square One Coffee Roasters, Tatte Bakery, and Tandem Coffee, amongst many, many more.

If your business would like to take part, all you need to do is head over to the Food Industry Action website here to sign up and be added to the list.

“This is more of a call to other businesses than it is to the customer to visit us,” Excell tells Sprudge. “This is not about getting more people through our door. This is about getting our community of businesses together to do something good.” But if you just so happen to want to support these companies trying to do good, a list of participating businesses can be found on the Food Industry Action official website.

June 27th sounds as good a day as any to get that affogato we’ve all been wanting since I mentioned it a few minutes ago.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image via Food Industry Action

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