Our team has been excitedly awaiting the opportunity to reconnect with so many friends from around the globe at this year’s expo in the wonderful city of New Orleans.
Unfortunately, many of our close partners and counterparties in coffee-producing countries cannot attend this year’s show due to pandemic restrictions. Expo is a beautiful, full-circle moment for our producer partners to witness their coffee reach consumers in its final form. It is heartbreaking that many of those who grow and harvest the very product that brings us together will not be able to attend, for without their contributions to our industry, we would have no industry to celebrate.
We came to this decision after many conversations amongst our staff in which we discussed supporting global vaccination efforts while also prioritizing our own health and wellbeing. Given this perspective, combined with the developing COVID landscape and impacts of Hurricane Ida, we do not feel that our presence at Expo would add value to the safety and wellbeing of the people of New Orleans.
For these reasons, we have decided to donate our travel budget of $30,000 to UNICEF, specifically pointed at their COVID Global Response Initiative. In 2020 they trained 3.3 million healthcare workers on infection prevention and control, delivered PPE to over 1.8 million healthcare workers, provided WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) supplies to 73.7 million people, distributed 500 million COVID tests, and delivered 15,000 oxygen concentrators to over 93 countries. In addition, their goal is to distribute 2 billion doses of the COVID vaccine in 2021 in conjunction with COVAX.
As always, we encourage our customers and industry friends to make whatever decision is right for them and their staff — this is simply the decision that we feel is best for us all here at Cafe Imports.
TL:DR, UNICEF’s work is something we want to get behind in any small way we can right now, so future expos can be as safe and accessible for everyone across the planet.