Last October, I was moved by a conversation I had with a barista at Caribou Coffee about an initiative the company launched 17 years ago to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Rushing into the building, I practically jogged up to the counter that morning, failing to acknowledge the offer at the counter to support the initiative through the purchase of a special blend of coffee. Instead, I handed over my cash, grabbed my black cup of coffee and sat down. That was when a conversation between two women nearby pulled at my heartstrings; their own personal battle with breast cancer unfolding one word at a time. On my way out that day, I proudly purchased a bag of coffee.

Caribou Coffee, Facebook, breast cancer, tulip, garden, Amy Erickson

Photo credit: Caribou Coffee

Since my visit, I’ve learned Caribou Coffee continues to raise awareness about breast cancer and pay tribute to Amy Erickson,  a former roastmaster who sadly lost her battle to the disease. The company planted a garden filled with Amy’s favorite flower – the tulip – near Washington, D.C. last fall and invited customers to join the cause online. For every submission made via Facebook, a tulip was planted in support of finding a cure, expanding the reach and recognizing all who have been touched by breast cancer.

When you think of coffee as a product, community support may not naturally come to mind. But, when you think of coffee as a connector, it makes a difference.