Both of the Kaladi Brothers Coffee houses located in Soldotna got the New Year off to a warm start for some peninsula residents, and not just by brewing up a favorite hot beverage. It's been a long-standing Kaladi tradition to donate the proceeds and labor costs from the first day of the year to an Alaskan charity or service organization. This year the Kaladi baristas chose Stitches of Love, a loosely knit organization that makes quilts for children going into foster care. In referencing the Stitches of Love organization, club member Sharon Hale said, "We don't have a president, we are just a group of women that get together hopefully once a month on our own time to make quilts so that every child that goes into foster care here on the Peninsula gets a new quilt of their very own that is theirs to keep forever. We were really excited when Kaladi's called us. It's unusual for people to come to us, we're usually out begging, asking, or selling things to raise funds to buy the materials necessary to make the quilts so it was a very pleasant surprise," said Sharon Hale. Hale estimates Stitches of Love has made some 500 quilts and distributed them mainly on the central peninsula but have also sent quilts to Homer and Seward.
Amy White Baxter has been a manager for Kaladi's for the last twelve years and says it's something they look forward to. "It's been especially nice for the last couple of years because while Kaladi does this statewide in Alaska, the last two years we've been allowed to select where we want the money we raise to go from our two stores here in the local community. Last year we choose the Soldotna Playground and this year Stitches of Love, which makes it fun to contribute to something that is affecting our little community here," said Amy. According to Amirah Marey, manager of the Kobuk Kaladi location, the two stores raised over $1,200 dollars for Stitches of Love, which was about $500 more than last year. "I think the statewide goal was $15,000 and we more than met that goal this year," she said. "Our employees always have plans for New Years, it's a holiday! But it's a lot of fun to come in and work for free knowing your day is going to a great cause. It makes work not really work, but a fun day, and the customers are always great and treat us really nice," she added. Anyone interested in contributing material or supplies to Stitches of Love, or to join the group contact Sharon Hale at 262-1507.
"We take donations of fabric, batting, quilts, or money! Because with cash we can buy what we need locally," said Hale.
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