Visiting the Ali Forney Center in New York - Allegro Coffee

Visiting the Ali Forney Center in New York

Posted In: All Posts, Making Coffee Matter, Team Member Stories

With the release of Pride Blend, we are donating $10,000 to the Ali Forney Center in New York. Recently, a few of our team members went to visit and we had a chance to catch up with our Brand Ambassador, Harry, to ask him about the trip.


A little bit about Harry:

How long have you worked in coffee? I just celebrated 23 years in the coffee industry.

How long have you been with Allegro? I’ve been with Allegro four years as of 5/25/19.

What is your role with Allegro? Currently, I’m a National Brand Ambassador for Allegro Coffee Roasters. They’re roasted across the country at five of our micro-roaster “showcase” locations. I get to do creative marketing, community outreach, employee/guest coffee education & training, industry conventions & festivals, wholesale & sales support.

About AFC and the NY trip:

Why is it important to partner with Ali Forney Center? With the current cutbacks in government funding, corporate America really needs to step it up and support positive change through centers like Ali Forney Center. I’m very proud of Allegro doing this and being an example. Ali Forney Cetner is a long time commitment to supporting these youths! It’s not just a quick fix/bandaid to do something temporary. The first step of the youth program is six months, then they advance in the housing program and continue for another one to two years. During this whole time they learn daily life skills, get medical help, meals, classes on how to secure a career and grow personally.

What was your favorite part of the NY trip? The interactive panel/workshop. We presented to the youths then did a Q&A on location at the Ali Forney Center. These conversations had deep & direct impact with the youths. We got to be examples of their own strength that they have themselves and that there is a place for them in this world.

My other favorite part was the tour that we got to do the next day with a small group of youths. We were at our micro-roasting facility at the Whole Foods Market on Bowery in NYC. They had a sparkle in their eyes and smiles as they participated hands on in an actual small batch coffee roasting, coffee cupping, coffee food pairing, then café barista positions/roles. They asked questions, we all had fun as we were learning together, they were present and they have hope. They saw the opportunity firsthand that there are so many jobs & roles in the coffee industry that THEY could fill. People like themselves that are already doing these jobs!

Did anything surprise you while at AFC that you weren’t expecting? Yes! The sacrifice that the Ali Forney Center program team gives… They put everything towards the youths. We toured and saw the kitchen where they serve 70,000 meals a year. Yet when we walked the AFC employee area… we saw the college sized microwave, the “hand me down” toaster oven, and the “Mr. Coffee” that takes brews coffee for ALL of the staff/volunteers. This said everything without saying a word! The youths were their priority.

Final Thoughts? Yes! I hope that Allegro continues its relationship and support of the Ali Forney Center. Programs like this need to be around so that the youths will survive and succeed. This is in the United States… we can’t be a great supporter of charity if we do not invest in our own youths & future.

Allegro coffee roasting team member holding a bag of Pride Blend coffee.

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