Eat, Drink Give Back
Food; the epitome of the holidays. From family-tested recipes passed down through the generations to classic dishes featured in every cookbook and holiday special on TV, food is always at the center of our celebration. Bozeman is no exception to the food-fueled obsession. However, Bozeman has another passion: giving back. With a multitude of worthy non-profits and charities calling this town home, it’s easy for residents to do their part and help others in the community.
What if you could combine the two? What if, while enjoying your holiday feasts, you could also take comfort in knowing that you were doing something good for someone else? Look no further than some of Bozeman’s favorite dining establishments. These five institutions of food and drink offer unique programs and opportunities for willing patrons to lend a helping hand. Read on, generous foodies, and discover what you can offer to someone else through the enjoyment and love of food.
City Brew Coffee
With over 20 locations dotting Montana and Wyoming, City Brew Coffee has certainly made a name for itself in the Bozeman coffee scene. Their drive-thrus are convenient and their coffee is hot and strong, perfect for a Monday morning pick-me-up after a busy weekend. One way City Brew helps give back to their community is through their Firehouse Blend. Ranging from a 1 Alarm decaf to a 3 Alarm full-bodied blend, this coffee means business. And, it means generosity. Purchasing this coffee creates two avenues of giving back: 20% of the profits go to the International Burn Fund, which raises money across the U.S. to educate, advocate and help people understand fire prevention as well as to improve the lives of burn victims. The rest of the profits stay local, going directly to the Bozeman Firefighter’s benevolence fund, which helps pay for victims of emergency calls. They purchase things like household items, clothing, and toys to replace what may have been lost in a fire. The Firehouse Blend can be purchased at any City Brew location or directly from Bozeman Firefighters. Drink up Bozemanites, and know that you’ve done something good with your morning cup of joe.
The Western Café
Known as “The Last Best Café”, The Western has a reputation in this town as being one of the go-to places for a delicious breakfast. Step through the doors and you’re transported to a simpler time, where the waitress might know you by name and remember what you ordered last, and the stools at the counter are filled with old friends and neighbors, hashing out the details of the week gone by. What many hungry diners may not know is that the Western gives back to the community in an endless number of ways. From the American Farmland Trust to the Yellowstone Association, you’d be hard pressed to find a non-profit that the Western hasn’t donated to at some point. Donating food to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, volunteering at the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, and supporting S.L.A.Mfest, the Western Café has a big heart to match their big, Montana breakfast selection.
It seems that as a café and coffeehouse, Sola does it all. Want a delicious house-baked pastry? Sola can do that. Want a rejuvenating cup of piping hot coffee? Sola can do that. Have a specific food allergy? Sola can accommodate that. Want to sit on their cute little patio with your four-legged, furry friend? Sola has just what you need. Add community activism to that list and it’s a one-stop shop for any giving foodie. Bring your own mug for a cup of coffee, and they will donate 10 cents to the month’s featured charity. If you happen to have a Sola mug handy, the donation increases to 20 cents. In addition to giving gift cards to numerous charitable organizations and events, they send leftovers to the food bank and donate profits of any art sold from their location to the charity of the artist’s choosing. Really, what doesn’t Sola do?
The Community Food Co-op
A Bozeman institution since 1979, the Co-op certainly knows how to keep their patrons happy. With an array of unique grocery options meeting the dietary needs of any hungry shopper under the sun and the funky, delicious offerings from The Flying C, it’s had to beat the selection at the Co-op. In October, they took part in raising money for the Bozeman Warming Center, joining other businesses in offering 3% of their total sales from a single day to help fund the center through the coming winter. They also have programs like EATS (Enough Abundance to Share). This program gives a 15% discount to low-income members with the goal of access for all to delicious, healthy foods. They also participate in Coffee for Classrooms. For every cup of coffee sold at either location, 10 cents per cup is given to the featured school of the month. This month, the recipient school is Hyalite Elementary. In addition, the Co-op gives to the food bank, is a leading sponsor at the Community Food Café, offers a garden and greenhouse for the Horticulture program at Eagle Mount, and is sponsoring the Nature Exhibit at the Children’s Museum this fall. Shop at the Co-op to your heart’s content and know that someone, somewhere is benefiting from your purchases.
The Community Café
Last and certainly not least, Bozeman is fortunate enough to be home to the Community Café located on North Seventh Avenue. While not a traditional restaurant in any sense of the word, it’s almost something better. With the goal of offering food to those in need in the Gallatin Valley, the Café is strictly pay what you can, operating as part of the HDRC. They offer food in the form of a sit-down restaurant to anyone who might need a hot meal. Donations are always accepted, but the Café loves volunteers as well. Whether on your own or as part of a group or business, you can help with food preparation, sign up to wash dishes, jump in as a server, or be part of a program that delivers lunches to rural schools and after-school programs. They are open seven days a week from 5 p.m to 7 p.m., and can never have too many helping hands.
This holiday season, when digging into your turkey and mashed potatoes, consider the ways that you can turn your passion for food into something good for charities and non-profits in our area. Bozeman thrives on the giving back attitude and everyone deserves a little help for the holidays.