A local coffee company is looking forward to the new year by giving back. Next Wednesday, the proceeds from drink sales at Kaladi Brothers Coffee will go directly to The Children's Lunchbox to help feed hungry kids in our community. 

The holiday tradition dates back nearly 30 years.

"It started off [as] Coffee Kids," explained Kaladi's owner Tim Gravel. "It was an organization in the Lower 48 that was trying to gather a bunch of revenue to support some local communities in the coffee-growing regions."

When that program fell apart, Kaladi's turned its attention to Anchorage, raising money for kid-based charities. As time went on, the tradition grew with help from the company's late CFO, Dale Tran. When Tran died suddenly in 2017, the event was renamed Dale Tran's New Year's Day of Giving.

"He just took it on himself and was super passionate about it," Gravel said. "And [he] changed it from about a $12,000 a year donation to over a hundred thousand dollars a year — a couple years we've broken that."

One such year was in 2016, the last time The Children's Lunchbox was selected for the Day of Giving, when the event raised $197,000. The program was able to build a new kitchen with the funds.  

"This year the funds will go directly to feeding children," said Lisa Sauder, executive director of Bean's Cafe, which runs The Children's Lunchbox. She later added, "Just making sure we have enough healthy food for every child."

According to The Children's Lunchbox, there are more than 22,000 hungry children in Anchorage alone. The program offers meals after school, on weekends and holiday breaks. 

"We have a number of out-of-school meal sites, where kids can go and get meals completely free of charge," Sauder explained. 

The organization was chosen by Dale Tran's family as a recipient of this year's Day of Giving. 

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