GENOA – Two independently owned Genoa businesses, Wakoh Wear and OpenDoor Coffee, together have raised $1,000 to support the Genoa Area Community Food Hub.
In the spring, the owners of OpenDoor Coffee asked Wakoh Wear to print custom T-shirts with the slogan “I Love Genoa-Kingston.”
“We had the idea to celebrate how our town always comes together in times of need,” said Stephanie Bradac, co-owner of OpenDoor Coffee.
The sale of the T-shirts by OpenDoor Coffee, 502 W. Main St. in Genoa, was intended to help Wakoh Wear, Number 2, 673 Park Ave. in Genoa, offset its business expenses during the slowdown of the pandemic.
“Wakoh Wear’s revenue has been greatly impacted by the pandemic as they work extensively with local schools, sports teams and festivals that have all be canceled,” Bradac said.
More than 100 T-shirts were sold from OpenDoor’s coffee truck.
Instead of accepting the proceeds for their business, Wakoh Wear wanted to give back to the Genoa community.
“Genoa has a lot of heart and promise,” Wakoh Wear co-owner Brian Wallace said. “In my experience, there is a great synergy with the local businesses and that’s really rewarding. I thought, let’s help lots of people not just my business.”
Together, OpenDoor Coffee and Wakoh Wear decided to donate to DeKalb County Community Garden’s Genoa Area Community Food Hub.
The Hub is a multifaceted facility including a food pantry, shared community space for education, pay-as-you’re-able cafe and community commercial kitchen. Between July 2019 and July 2020, The Hub saw an 434.29% increase in households served, or 768 individuals, including 446 younger than 18 and 60 older than 60.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the food pantry at The Hub has been distributing prepackaged boxes via online orders to patrons through a drive-thru model, as well as collaborating with Voluntary Action Center to provide children younger than 18 free lunches and dinners this summer.
“This town takes care of each other,” said Haleigh Hunger, the director of The Hub. “Their wonderful donation will turn into tons of food we purchase from local farmers and the Northern Illinois Food Bank to help our residents who live with food insecurity.”
For information about Wakoh Wear, email Debbie Wallace at email@example.com or call 815-784-2734. For information about OpenDoor Coffee, email Stephanie Bradac at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nick Bradac at email@example.com.
The food pantry at The Hub is open to Genoa-Kingston residents the first and third Mondays and the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. For information about The Hub, email Haleigh Hunger at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 815-761-7313.