Yet Another Reason to Love Coffee

You don't have to be a genius scientist to know that coffee improves human relations. Personally, I can't function until I've had at least two cups -- and talking to some folks before they've had theirs can put you in mortal danger! But on a warmer note, think of all the wonderful memories that are shared over coffee. First dates, weekly get-togethers, reunions, all taking place in coffee houses all over the world. Coffee is a gift. And after hearing what Royal Cup, Inc. is doing, I'm positive it's a gift that keeps on giving.

Not only does giving back to your community feed your soul and motivate others to act in kind, it can also be a game-changer for entrepreneurs and corporate entities alike. So, when I heard that during Royal Cup's annual company meeting, 450 employees managed to pack 130,000 meals in an hour and a half, my ears perked up.

Royal Cup's CEO, Bill Smith III, created this company-wide initiative after partnering with Stop Hunger Now, a non-profit that provides life-changing aid across the world. The majority of their meals are served through what are referred to as "transformational development" programs. Their distribution primarily includes school feeding programs, vocational training centers, early childhood development centers, maternal health and other community health clinics. Stop Hunger Now's primary focus is women and children, because they suffer disproportionally from hunger and malnutrition.

So, what can 130,000 meals do? Well, according to Stop Hunger Now's 2014 annual meal distribution report: 40,206,672 meals were served to 620,500 people. So here are some stats for what a single company like Royal Cup can do:

  • 130,000 meals can feed 772 school children every day for an entire school year, helping increase enrollment, attendance and academic performance while decreasing health problems associated with malnutrition. *
  • 130,000 meals will provide adequate nutrition for 464 expectant mothers during an average 40 weeks of pregnancy, increasing the chances that babies will be born healthy.*
  • 130,000 meals will feed 178 families of four for six months, providing support while they work to rebuild their lives following a natural disaster.*

*Information obtained from Stop Hunger Now.

This atypical annual meeting was more than a yearly gathering to celebrate their successes, it was an opportunity for the company's employees to come together and work to make the world a better place. It's part of their credo, and an extension of their sustainability initiatives, spearheaded by Ben Pitts, vice president of food service and hospitality at Royal Cup.

Companies like Royal Cup that flourish for over a century don't just talk about the importance of giving back, they put it into action. Here are three ways that your business can give back and help make a positive difference in the world:

Support a non-profit
Whether it is through a yearly donation, employee payroll deductions or simply volunteer efforts, identify a charitable organization that aligns with your values and encourage company-wide participation. For example, the United Way has more than 1,200 local offices throughout the country and supports efforts to improve community education, income inequality and health issues.

Organize group volunteer efforts
Participating with colleagues in volunteer efforts is not only a great team-building exercise, it also creates a more positive, inclusive work environment. Habitat for Humanity is a great option, as it offers businesses the opportunity to work on construction projects that benefit low-income and disadvantaged residents.

Go pro bono
It is highly likely that your industry expertise will be of value to others. Consider allocating a certain number of pro bono hours towards helping your community, or provide free classes that teach a specialized skill set that could benefit local residents who have been out of work for a while.