Not every family can celebrate the holidays with a warm, home-cooked meal. That’s why Rusty Kettle Espresso, a coffee stand in McKenna, is collecting canned goods from now until Dec. 15.
The employees, including owner Kimberly Boyle Bamer, opened the drive on Nov. 22 and have collected 15 cases of cans as of Dec. 1. Rusty Kettle will donate the cans collected to Yelm Food Bank and Roy Food Bank.
The stand is also putting on a toy drive and is collecting donations through Dec. 20.
Boyle Bamer, who has lived in the area for 15 years and has owned the stand for over a year, was inspired to create the food drive after speaking with customers who were struggling with finances.
“You get to know a lot of your customers as they come through, and they do express hard times,” she said. “It’s our way of trying to help give back for their patronage to us. There’s a lot of families in need out there.”
Rusty Kettle, located at 35611 state Route 507 across the street from Pet House Grooming, is aiming to collect about 1,500 to 2,000 cans, or at least one can for their 1,200 rewards members. Boyle Bamer hopes that the canned food and toy drive will be an annual event at their stand, and she has been inspired by the amount of people that have brought cans and spread the word.
“It makes you feel good inside that you can do something for somebody that may not necessarily be less fortunate, but maybe their paycheck doesn’t stretch as far as it used to,” she said. “It makes you feel good that you may have provided that meal for that family or helped give them a Christmas gift or took the stress off the family.”
Boyle Bamer said that she wants her employees to learn about what it means to give back, as well.
“On Dec. 15, the girls are all going to put on their Rusty Kettle gear and go to the food banks together and be a part of really giving the cans to them, not only watching it be collected, but giving back to them,” she said. “It’s important to the work ethics of young people when they can see things like that and be a part of that. It hopefully inspires them to be good people and do well for others.”
Rusty Kettle Espresso is also partnering with Elite Baseball Club for an event where customers can take photos with Santa Claus on Dec. 20. There will be hot chocolate available for purchase that supports the baseball club.
“It helps us give back, and it helps the club promote themselves,” Boyle Bamer said. “We just try to help out wherever we can. They support us, and we support them. That’s honestly what a small community is all about.”