Anyone fancy a hot toddy?
The Street 14 Cafe in Astoria has found a way to warm its customers while supporting others who need help.
Cocktails for a Cause is a program the cafe’s owners, Jennifer and Micha Cameron-Lattek, started late last year. The idea is that, each month, half the amount charged for a specific cocktail is earmarked for a good cause.
Allyx O’Connor is the front-of-house manager at the Astoria cafe, at 1410 Commercial St. She used to work at the Pickled Fish restaurant on the Long Beach Peninsula, which has used a similar fundraising technique, and is happy to acknowledge that’s where the idea came from.
In January, the cause was the Astoria Warming Center, and the cocktail of choice was a hot toddy. Half the $8 customers pay for the drink is donated to the center.
“It just made sense with the winter here,” said O’Connor. “We wanted to do something good in the climate that we are in right now, and a hot toddy was a perfect idea. People really like it — and they are excited about helping other people.”
For the record, the hot toddies at Street 14 Cafe are made with Astoria’s Pilot House Distilling’s A-O American whisky, mulling spice, lemon and hot water.
Before Christmas, proceeds from the sale of another beverage raised $350 for the National Resource Defense Council, a nonprofit that works to ensure the rights of everyone to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities, while protecting wildlife and wild places.
The Astoria Warming Center moved last year to from the Astoria Senior Center, which served as the site during its renovations, to the lower level of the First United Methodist Church, located at 1076 Franklin Ave., in Astoria.
Starting in November and running through the winter, the free shelter is available on nights when temperatures drop or when there is blustery weather.
Alison Coffinbarger, president of the nonprofit’s board, said the center is usually full, serving 30 people a night. “We are serving the most vulnerable people,” she said.
They include many veterans, homeless people who cannot find space in other shelters, and even patients who have just been discharged from the hospital but have nowhere to sleep. Meals, showers and laundry services are offered — services that especially benefit working people. “We are able to offer a little bit of stability,” she said.
Clatsop Community Action, which helps low-income residents with food and housing, has estimated there are about 1,000 homeless people in Clatsop County.
Coffinbarger welcomes all donations to the center and said organizers are in particular need of blankets. They can be dropped off at the center any evening after 7 p.m. (Blankets should be laundered first.) Anyone wanting to volunteer, is asked to email contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org