Giving back to our community is a huge part of what we do.
That spirit of giving back while growing a business caught the attention of the team at Google, and we’re excited to share that the technology giant featured Fire Dept. Coffee as part of its efforts to celebrate First Responders Day.
As most of our customers know, a portion of the proceeds from every order goes to support charities benefiting firefighters and other first responders in their time of need.
To help tell that story, Google sent a film crew to our headquarters in Rockford, Illinois, to speak with Fire Dept. Coffee founder Luke Schneider and his wife, Kate, about what it means to be a firefighter, a business owner and an active member of the first responder community.
They spent five days in Rockford learning about firefighting and coffee roasting and getting to know all the people who play such vital roles in Fire Dept. Coffee.
We’re incredibly proud of how the video feature turned out. It’s a true reflection of the Fire Dept. Coffee story and how, with the help of our incredible customers across the country, we’ve been able to grow this business and use it as a vehicle to provide much-needed support for ill or injured first responders.
What began as an experiment to learn about brewing coffee has grown into a company that has doubled its production in the last year and now employs seven members of our community, the majority of whom are first responders or military veterans.
Our roaster, Dave McWilliams, is a retired captain in the fire service.
“I drank coffee my whole firefighting career,” he said. “Maybe 20 cups a day? Is that too many?”
Dave likes to write notes and include them in shipments, especially when they’re going to a firehouse. He wants them to know that there’s a firefighter back in Illinois making the coffee for them.
Since Fire Dept. Coffee began, we’ve donated more than $50,000 to different charities. Now we’re launching the Fire Dept. Coffee Foundation as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It allows us to do more and focus our efforts to benefit the heroes who need it most.
Damien Pereira is a firefighter who suffered a serious spinal cord injury in the line of duty. He’s overcoming his injury with hard work and the help of so many others who have supported him.
Now Damien is helping the Fire Dept. Coffee Foundation to ensure that our resources are being spent where they will have the greatest impact.
“Firefighters serve their communities. People who are having the worst day of their life are calling us,” Luke said. “It wouldn’t make sense being Fire Dept. Coffee and not doing something bigger or greater with it and give back.”