CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Many people love a good cup of Joe in the morning and head to local coffee shops in the Coastal Bend to satisfy their caffeine craving.
But how are they doing it? It’s called the Sleeves of Support campaign. They provided 12,000 coffee cup sleeves to local coffee shops with a QR code on it. Scanning that QR code will their websites, where people can either donate or find out more information about the organization.
Coral Bean Cafe on Staples Street is one of the participating locations. Co-owner Curt Flowers said it’s a simple gesture that goes a long way.
“Us as a coffee shop — our goal is to build community,” he said.
He said it didn’t take long for him to participate in the coffee sleeves campaign when Agape Ranch approached him.
“When you’re drinking your coffee, you’re just sitting there looking at your cup, and so you get that brief second to advertise to let somebody know, hey, these are situations, we need your help, we need your support,” Flowers said.
Samantha Koepp-Stemplinger is the marketing and recruiting manager for CASA of the Coastal Bend and said she got the idea from another CASA program in Nebraska.
“These coffee sleeves are an easy way to give people access to that information about the need for all the different ways that they can support children and families who are involved in the foster care, child-welfare system,” Koepp-Stemplinger said.
She said there are about 500 kids in the foster-care system in the Coastal bend. She said out of those kids, about 60 percent of them will be sent out of the county to other parts of Texas. She said the pandemic made it harder because many kids rely on connection with others because they were already traumatized from being separated from their family.
“When they’re in the foster-care system, it’s really important to have them socialize, be around other children, be around family, try and keep those connections," she said. "So with the pandemic, that cut everything off very abruptly.”
Agape Ranch Director of Operations Melissa Faux has fostered kids and adopted. She said being a part of the foster-care system has allowed her to have firsthand experience with what the kids are going through, and said although many people are thinking of adopting, there are other ways to get involved.
“There’s a lot of ways you can make an impact for vulnerable children that don’t necessarily mean foster or adoption," she said. "So you can become an advocate, a volunteer, give up your time, give up your resources.”
Faux said because of the sleeves, Agape Ranch has gotten more people to engage with their social media.
The other participating coffee shops are: Driftwood Coffee Company, Cafe Calypso, Bien Mérité, Coffee Waves in Port Aransas and Flour Bluff, Island Joes, and both Stingers locations on Airline and Staples.
The E.W. Scripps Company, the parent company of KRIS 6 News and its sister stations Action 10 News and Telemundo Corpus Christi, donated $1,000 to CASA this year.