Kaladi Brothers Coffee employees spent New Year’s Day volunteering their time for a good cause-- and they raised more than $50,000 doing so.

For nearly 30 years, the company has donated its Jan. 1 proceeds to a local charity.

This year the event has been renamed to the Dale Tran’s New Year’s Day of Giving, in honor of Kaladi’s chief financial officer who passed away suddenly in January 2017.

“He was an inspiration to all around him,” said owner Tim Gravel. “He was really involved in the community, he loved what he did and was an amazing guy. I can’t say how proud I am to do this and carry it on for Dale.”

For the second year, Kaladi workers chose AWAIC — Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis — as the donation recipient.

New Year’s Day means more than a morning latter for Sherry Miller; every cup is a chance to spread awareness about domestic violence.

“What's really difficult, especially around the holidays is people get together with their loved ones and I go to a cemetery and I put a Christmas tree on her headstone,” Miller said. “That's how I have to deal with life.”

Her daughter, Linda Bower, was just 19 when she was strangled by her boyfriend, David Thomas, in September 2014.

Miller said AWAIC has helped her learn about the warning signs of abuse and domestic violence so she can prevent a tragedy for another family.

“It's important to get the message out there is hope, there are people to talk to, you're not alone,” Miller said.

The non-profit was Melissa Healy’s first stop when she moved to Alaska.

“They have a program called Move Forward that enabled me to get into a house I'm renting now. They paid my deposit, paid my rent,” Healy explained.

She spent several years with an abusive boyfriend in the Lower 48. Healy said the breaking point was when he hit her in front of her daughter.

“I was one of those people who thought, if someone hit me I would leave. I wouldn’t stay, I would go the second it happened. But it doesn’t work that way,” Healy said.

AWAIC provided the support she needed to get away and stay away.

“I knew I could go there any time of the day or night and know that someone is there who would help me no matter what the situation,” she said.

Last year AWAIC received nearly $70,000 from Kaladi. Development director Becky More said every night in a shelter costs about $100, so the money is well spent. This year, the event raised $56,000. 

“We had a little over 750 women and children who stayed in our shelter last year, 15,000 nights of safety so $70,000 goes a long way,” More said.

AWAIC reports more than half of women in Anchorage will experience domestic violence or sexual abuse at some point in their life. Miller hopes the money and awareness will prevent another tragedy like Linda’s.

“A $5 cup of coffee is chump change, but it goes an awful long way. AWAIC has an important aspect in our community and sadly it's really needed,” Miller said.

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