Last week, Dog Bar Jim, a Brunswick coffee shop, received a donation from Bowdoin parents who wish to remain anonymous. According to owner Benjamin Gatchell, the benefactors donated $500 to provide coffee for first responders and medical workers at Mid Coast Hospital as well as for local police officers.
Every day approximately 15 to 25 healthcare officials and police officers visit the coffee shop. By using the money solely for coffee, Gatchell hopes to stretch it out for as long as possible.
“[The donation is] very generous, when you think about how many cups of coffee that buys. It’s quite a lot,” Gatchell said in a phone interview with the Orient.
Gatchell said the donation served two purposes: helping a local business that has lost customers due to Maine’s “Stay Healthy at Home” order, while also offering a gesture of solidarity and support for those on the frontlines battling the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The police officers are dealing with new challenges … things that they probably never dealt within their career. Likewise with medical workers,” Gatchell said. “Feeling connected to [other] people is a very fleeting thing at this moment, and I think [the donation] can be just that nice reminder every day that we’re all in this together. ”
Gatchell explained that a close-knit community of regulars frequent his coffee shop, and this community helps him keep track of medical workers and police officers and offer them free coffee.
“I have my regular batch of local police officers who come most days. And same with medical workers,” Gatchell said.
Gatchell praised the thoughtfulness of the donation, explaining that though it is spread across the country, the Bowdoin community remains connected to its Brunswick center.
While Gatchell is grateful for the donation, he also hopes that other local businesses that are struggling as a result of the pandemic will be similarly supported by the community.
“I think just the nature of having someone who I couldn’t place a face to reach out and want to provide people in the Brunswick community through me…was a really beautiful thing,” said Gatchell. “I hope that other people are able to do that with some other local businesses as well.”