News / Charity
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They are also what gives our society choice, variety, color and in the broadest meaning of the word, diversity. Small businesses are able to fill niches that a larger company can't or won't fill because there is a limited market and often small profit. These include culture specific restaurants and markets, local trades, local stores and local services. With the resurgence of Covid-19, it is taking a toll on these small businesses. Do we only want to shop at Walmart or online at Amazon and eat at McDonald's and get coffee from Starbucks? I have nothing against these companies and they employee a lot of people who need work right now, but do I want them to be my ONLY choice?
Closer to home, I have a friend who has been in the restaurant business all his adult life having taken over the family business when his parents retired. He's grown the business into 3 locations, each one a little different. He was doing OK before the pandemic, not great, but able to employ 70 people and make ends meet. Not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. Simple car, simple house but stable. All that is in jeopardy now. With rules and regulations set by the local and state government designed to help stop the spread of the disease, he is going under. Having your patrons eat outside is fine when it's 70 degrees and sunny, but when it's 30 degrees and dark it isn't realistic. It hurts him to think that the 70 people who depend on him to provide them income will be drug down with him. It pains him to think that he'll reside over the death of the family business his parents put so much in to build.
You need to take care of yourself first, because you can't help anyone if you are incapacitated, but if you are managing through this pandemic, now is the time to look into the future and support the businesses you want to have around when this pandemic passes. Restaurants are being hit particularly hard, but so are other small businesses. Be creative in how you support them, order out if you can, buy your presents from local stores, help advocate for them and please support your local, small businesses and charities!
Adversity often brings out the best in people - now's the time to show you care.
When I founded THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE I had been a police officer for over 18 years for the City of Berkeley, California. Those who aren't familiar with the West Coast, it is a city across the bay from San Francisco and shares a southern border with Oakland. Quick shout out to BPD, OPD and SFPD! At the time, Berkeley had a population of around 110K people and had all the same big-city crime as our neighbors. I sustained an on-the-job injury and was retired out as a sergeant. I started when I was 22 years old and was out at 39. I have since "re-invented" myself twice and have had what I consider a good life, raising a family and being in a position where I can give back.
So, why do I mention this in the blog?
Law enforcement officers need our support and that's where THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE separates itself from some other businesses that directly support charities. Officers need to be adequately prepared to work on the street. They need basic equipment to function safely and they need the right tools and training, but they also need support for themselves and their families to help handle the toll that the job takes on them. This last part is why THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE was founded. We let others help pay for equipment, we focus our assistance on helping the person behind the badge. The charities we support help fix broken families and broken officers. It's not sexy or glamorous. You won't see us put our name on a new SWAT truck or sponsor the purchase of firearms. That area is covered quite well. We believe in getting officers home each night both physically and mentally and making sure their families are okay should the worst happen.
I've been there. I was a SWAT team member for years and participated in multiple call outs. I've witnessed some horrendous things. I've experienced the high of doing my job well and the low of having large swaths of my community not understand. I've even hidden the fact that I was a cop many times over many years to prevent conflict. What other profession does that?
I hope people understand that we need law enforcement and we need to take care of them in more ways than just giving them new toys. We need to show our support for the person behind the badge and those they leave at home each night. I encourage you to support the charities we stand behind.
THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE went live at the very end of August 2016, and as expected of any new adventure, it started slow, but it has consistently grown - with your support.
We sell great tasting coffee! Those of you who took the chance and tried it, we owe you a debt of gratitude.
We started simply with a goal to make this "business" a convenient tool for people to donate to Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) , an organization that truly cares for all law enforcement officers and their families, and we've been successful. But we have a long way to go. This year "we" (as in all of us who have purchased from THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE) have donated $475 to CO.P.S. Not a huge amount, but a start! No, we're still not profitable or even at break even, but supporting C.O.P.S. is a core tenant of this endeavor and we're determined to honor our commitment whatever the sacrifice.
In our short 4 months of existence, we've grown on Facebook, Instagram and now Pinterest. We're working hard to build recognition of our products and goals and could use your support in helping to spread the word. The more we sell, the more we donate!
So, thank you all for your help in making this idea a reality!
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
― John Bunyan