NEW YORK, June 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The coffee community in New York City and Los Angeles are coming together for Refoodee, a non-profit organization empowering refugees through the economic empowerment of the hospitality industry. Refoodee has partnered with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and will be launching the Refoodee Flight, a specialty line of Counter Culture coffee to spotlight the intersection of coffee production and forced displacement. Tastings of the flight will be available to the public at select New York City and Los Angeles coffee shops. Funds raised will go towards training and placing refugee candidates with barista positions throughout the United States.
Refoodee was created to help address both a humanitarian crisis and the hospitality industry's labor shortage. According to the UNHCR, there are more than 68.5 million people (including 25.4 million refugees) forcibly displaced with a new person becoming displaced from their home every two seconds globally. In the United States, there were over 1 million open jobs in the leisure and food services industry in March, a 35% increase from the same period two years ago according to the Department of Labor.
Refoodee's founder, Whitney Noelle, hopes Refoodee will "inspire companies to make the commitment to hire and mentor refugees." Whitney comes from a lineage of humanitarian activists and credits her grandmother, an asylee from North Korea, as inspiration for creating Refoodee. "We as humans are more similar than we are different and my intention is that Refoodee will serve as a beacon for this message," said Whitney.
Whitney partnered with author of The Underground Culinary Tour and hospitality software founder, Damian Mogavero. With over 10,000 restaurants in 70 countries, Damian experienced the industry's labor shortage first hand through his clientele. "Starting with the coffee community was a natural fit as they were so passionate about Refoodee's mission and there was an opportunity to bring awareness that these coffees come from places with significant refugee crises."
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting the rights of and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR works to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home. For more information, please visit www.unhcr.org.