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thedrifter
02-07-08, 08:39 AM
Caffino brews plan to send troops coffee
Published Thu, Feb 7, 2008 12:00 AM
By BEN PILLOW
bpillow@beaufortgazette.com
843-986-5537

Jeanne Bellew and her husband, James, wanted to do something to show their appreciation for area Marines serving abroad.

As the owners of Lowcountry Caffino, "what we can do right now is coffee." So, during February, Caffino's "coffee for the troops" campaign offers customers the opportunity to buy a pound of coffee beans, write a personal note to Marines on a sticker for the bag and have the coffee shipped overseas.

The drive-through coffee business has sold more than 30 pounds of beans since launching the campaign Friday. Each 1-pound bag of beans sells for $12.95, and Caffino grinds the coffee before delivering the bags to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort for shipment.Jeanne Bellew is working with Cpl. Cathryn Lindsay, the air station's community relations and media chief, to get the coffee to a locally based unit deployed overseas.

"(Bellew) had an idea and asked if anything like that was being done or had been done ... and if we would help her get it over there and give her some tips on what the Marines want," Lindsay said. "So we just kind of helped her out with that."

It has yet to be worked out who will pay for the overseas shipments, but Bellew is willing to "do whatever is required, absolutely." Lindsay calls the campaign "awesome."

"We appreciate it," she said. "Anytime that local businesses show their support for the Marine Corps community around them, it just really makes us feel welcome, and the Marines in Iraq love just knowing that people are thinking about them."

That's where the messages on the coffee bags come in.

"From what I understand, the quality of the coffee they get is terrible, and the military enjoys coffee -- they like to have their coffee," Bellew said. "... So there's the coffee aspect of this, like really good, high-quality coffee that tastes good, and then there's also the notes. It's a way for them to know that they're being thought of, that they're being appreciated."

She plans to approach Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot officials as well about the campaign. Military personnel, families of those serving abroad and members of the general public have participated so far, according to Bellew.

"People who are doing it are having a good time with it," she said, citing messages that include, "Thank you," "Come home safe," and "We appreciate all that you are doing."

Caffino is promoting the campaign with advertisements in The Boot and The Jet Stream -- two publications serving Parris Island and the air station -- and posters and word of mouth at the Boundary Street business.

"I'm hoping the people of Beaufort see this as a low-cost way for them to remember those who are in harm's way and as a way to thank them," Bellew said.

Caffino also offers a 20 percent discount every Monday to military, police, fire, search and rescue, and emergency medical personnel, what the Bellews call "Community Heroes Mondays."

Lowcountry Caffino is not alone in its support of area troops. Mama's Furniture of Beaufort and Savannah last year gave $4,000 to United Service Organizations as part of its donation program.

When a purchase is made at either store, a donation in the customer's name is made to the buyer's church or USO, a congressionally chartered, nonprofit group that provides morale, welfare and recreational services to military personnel and their families.

Mama's Furniture has donated more than $34,300 through the program, which the business began about seven years ago.

Ellie