It has become a tradition; celebrating the new year with a cup of coffee while helping others.

On New Year's Day, Kaladi Brother's Coffee raised $37,000 through coffee sales and community partners. The company presented the check Friday to the Children's Lunchbox, a program of Bean's Cafe.

"Over 20,000 children qualify for free or reduced meals in the Anchorage School District," said Lisa Sauder, executive director of Bean's Cafe, "and in our minds that puts them potentially at risk of being food insecure and not having access to healthy nutritional options. And it's heartbreaking. No child in a community such as ours should ever go hungry."

Organizers say a combination of factors contributed to lower donations this year including cafe sales and the way community partners made contributions. In 2019, the Jan. 1 effort raised at least $65,000 for Covenant House.

The money from the 2020 fundraiser will go toward feeding around 370 children for an entire school year, according to Sauder. She says it will specifically be used for their weekend food program and the in-school pantry meal program.

Michele Parkhurst, chief operations officer for Kaladi Brothers, said the time just after the holiday season is a good time to give back to the community while people are thinking about New Year's resolutions.

"We're able to do what we do on a regular day," Parkhurst said, "and give back 100% of the beverage proceeds to a nonprofit."

Donations can be made to The Children's Lunchbox through its website.

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