We all hate hearing and reading about disasters, and the recent tornado damage to Joplin MO is no exception. What we do like to read about are the heartwarming stories of individuals and groups who respond to such disasters with willing hearts and hands. One of our coffee roasters did just that, rising to the occasion to bring some encouragement and cheer to the ravaged city. Parisi is an artisan roaster in Kansas City MO. Its manager, Kate Blackman, wanted to do something for the people of Joplin devastated by the tornado, and since coffee is her love and business, she responded with coffee. Reporter William Klusener wrote this week how Kate asked her boss if she could take some coffee to Joplin and then organized a small group to assist. “I know how important that cup of coffee can be. It’s nice for someone to have something you don’t really need. It gives you a sense of normalcy,” Kate said after she and friends spent three days rooming in a church while spending their mornings dispensing coffee to relief workers and displaced residents. They heated water in a turkey cooker, carried disposable cups, creamer and sweeteners, bottled water and pump thermoses. They used a pressurized keg to carry the coffee and went through seven gallons each morning. In the afternoon when the demand for coffee was less, they found other ways to help. The best part was seeing the smile on the faces as people talked to them about their homes and what they had been like, how their cats were found and other stories of survival. One of the challenges was going up against the bureaucracy, as the Parisi team hadn’t registered with the city. After the authorities saw the good they were doing, they let them stay anyway. ROASTe salutes Kate and her friends for reaching out to help in the best way they could. Taking the initiative and diving in to help others is a wonderful example to us all. Thank you Parisi Coffee. Oh, by the way, Parisi doesn’t just have fantastic employees, but the coffee is amazing as well. Why not try one below?