The Coffee Can Fund
The Coffee Can Fund is a lifeline for our participants. Generously funded by one donor every year, the money serves to help participants who are in a pinch. The purpose of the fund is to cover seemingly small but critical costs for the women we serve. Things like application fees, appropriate work attire, gas cards for travelling to and from work, and even minor car repairs. I have worked for a variety of non-profits over the past 10 years and I have never seen anything like this resource.
For example, a former Step In To Work graduate once came to us because of an offence that appeared on her criminal background check. Although the offence was eligible for expungement, she could not afford to pay the $90 application fee. We used the Coffee Can Fund to pay the fee and within a week, the charge had been removed.
With this obstacle to employment eliminated, she could continue to explore and pursue employment without the weight of having a criminal record.
I remember another graduate came to us when she got a job at ReSource. She did not own work-appropriate clothing – even for such a casual environment. This participant also struggled to find undergarments that fit her large chest. Since stores rarely carried her size, she resorted to wearing baggy sweatshirts to hide her figure. As a single mom, she devoted all of her money to the care of her two kids, never on herself. However, with the help of the Coffee Can Fund, I was able to take her to a Dress for Success clearance sale where we bought a variety of shirts, pants, skirts, and shoes that she could wear to her new job. We also were able to buy two good bras and a proper laundry bag to wash them. Thrilled to wear a bra that fit, she exclaimed to me,
“Rachel, you don’t even know.”
What I do know is this purchase immediately boosted her self-esteem.
Not only is the Coffee Can Fund an incredible resource for the women we serve, it is also a gift to us, the staff. It allows us to say “we can help” when a woman voices a real and urgent need and help keep them on track to self-sufficiency and financial stability.