Making a Difference by Munching: Cafe for a Cause

Ms. Elyse Martin-Smith

Yummy! Nothing tastes sweeter than being able to make a difference in a furry friend’s life… Except for doing it while eating a delicious waffle from the CVU Cafe! Every year, Leo LaForce and the CVU Student Council team up to set up Cafe for a Cause, where the profits of all purchases at the cafeteria for one day go to a certain charity. There is also a raffle managed by Student Council and this year there was a donation table as well. This year, the charity was the Humane Society of Chittenden County.

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Photo by Elyse Martin-Smith

Cafe for a Cause has been an annual CVU tradition since 2004 or 2005. Leo LaForce, head of the CVU Cafe, has worked very hard to make this a successful event at CVU to give back. “I’ve worked in restaurants my entire life, which is always for profit… so there has really never been an opportunity,” says LaForce. His idea for this contrasts his past work, so he turned to his core values to gain inspiration for this event. “I’ve always felt people should give to the community, or give back in some way”

One thing that makes this event possible is the support of the community, which became apparent when LaForce approached the Chief Operating Officer for the CVSD district, proposing the idea. “He said ‘go for it!’” LaForce recalls. The Cafe relies on donations to make this possible, which makes community involvement even more valuable.

 This year, the Humane Society was chosen by Leo LaForce as this year’s lucky charity. Some years, like last year, it is selected by the CVU Student Council. Last year, the profit was actually split between the Richmond and Hinesburg Food Shelters. However, this year, the Chittenden Humane Society was the sole organization receiving profits. The mission statement of the Humane Society is “to foster compassionate treatment of animals and prevent animal suffering; to strengthen the human-animal bond; and to further the cause of responsible animal ownership through education and public awareness,” according to their website.  I mean, who doesn’t love helping animals find a forever home or helping provide them with proper healthcare?

LaForce felt this was a really great fit for this year’s donations. “It’s not just helping animals; it’s helping people! Everyone knows how important a pet is to them.” It is also very local, which some people may not know. The Chittenden Humane Society, although the same organization, is not directly affiliated with the National Humane Society in the realm of donations. “They have to raise money for what they do for their own individual charity,” Leo comments, highlighting the importance of helping the local strands of the larger organization.

 Cafe for a Cause can help make a significant difference for whatever charity is chosen that year since it raises a lot of necessary funds. According to Leo LaForce, “We raised $347 through Raffle sales and $7,403 through Cafe sales to total $7,750 dollars.” Considering the current student enrollment, there was a good turnout. “Out of 1308 students we served 357 breakfast meals (27%) and 774 lunch meals (almost 60%)” and “out of 300 adults we served 38 breakfast meals (almost 13%) and 75 Lunch meals (25%),” Leo LaForce mentioned in a school-wide email. These numbers are impressive in comparison to some recent years, and it can significantly help the Humane Society.

Putting on such a large event requires the support of many people and groups. Student Council helped to put together the morning waffle bar for Cafe for a Cause and assembled a large raffle. The raffle included prizes ranging from a FitBit to a french press, all due to generous donations from many businesses. Jessica Ke really lead this project and expertly organized the student aspect of this event. Her efforts were greatly appreciated this year in helping it run smoothly.

Although this event was a success, there is always room for improvement. Andre LaChance has consistently assisted with organizing students, as well as the critique of the event so that it can run more smoothly next year. This is extremely helpful in many ways. Compared to last year, there was a significantly higher profit this year, showing that things are already improving. Also, many a variety of new local businesses donated products to the raffle, creating new bonds within the community.

Overall, Cafe for a Cause was very successful this year, and a great idea that has been well refined at CVU. Simply by eating some delicious tortellini or enjoying a cup of coffee, the lives of precious pets are improved. Just in time for “giving season” and CVU’s Attitude for Gratitude Week, this event furthers the idea of giving and gratitude. Leo LaForce said his “favorite part is seeing the amount of support from the CVU community, the amount of students that come in, the amount of adults that come through, and the amount of joy they seem to be taking in that event.” He was very grateful for everyone who helped out with this event. He was also able to spread the kindness.

LaForce said that another one of the most rewarding parts of this is “the joy we see them experience and seeing what it can do.” With this in mind, take this as inspiration to spread a generous and gracious mentality like this event does. Finally, remember to look out for Cafe for a Cause at CVU in future years!

Interested in the cause? Visit the Chittenden Humane Society webpage at the link below!

https://www.chittendenhumane.org/

 

CVC Video Feature: The Case of the Missing Strawberry Pop

Mr. Samuel Swavay Comai

The Redhawk Cafe is now the area of a case that has caught CVU students off guard. The Redhawk Cafe offers a wide variety of tasty snacks and treats. In the weeks proceeding Thanksgiving Break, the cafeteria lost one of its most well-liked treats. The Strawberry Shortcake Pops were not only good, but they sold like wildfire. Now the cafeteria is missing it’s most flavorful treat, and the culprit, health regulations.

The missing Strawberry Pops first came to the attention of students during the week of November 13th. As kids funneled through the cafe doors, something felt different. The usual crowd of students wasn’t by the cooler which contained the Pops. The corner of the freezer that normally held the pops was filled with a couple stacks of ice cream sandwiches.

“I was pretty taken back by the entire situation! Those pops are a great snack and treat,” comments strawberry pop enthusiast, Sam Weese.

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Missing Cafeteria Plates Jeopardize Reuse Ethic

Mr. Colin Lach

HINESBURG – At CVU the school cafe plates and bowls have recently been disappearing becoming a costly commodity for the school to handle. CVU has reportedly lost 150 plates in one month. According to the CVU cafe this decrease in the reusable plates is due to students not returning them to the cafe after use or disposing of them in the garbage.

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At Champlain Valley High school the cafeteria is known as one of the best school cafes in the state. This reputation relies heavily on the work of the staff and how they respond to student feedback. When the CVU environmental club requested that CVU switch to plastic Reusable plates Food Service Manager Leo Laforce made the switch, even though it was a more costly option.

Before making the switch CVU used foam plates, According to Leo CVU could buy 140 foam plates for the price of 1 plastic reusable plate. At this price point losing an average of 6 plates a day this has become a large problem for The Redhawk Cafe, and they may make the decision to switch back to foam plates.

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Cafe for a Cause: a tangy and twangy success

Mr. Kaelan Murdock


CVU’s Cafe for a Cause is an annual event that takes place for the duration of one school day. All proceeds from food sold goes to charity. This year’s Cafe for a Cause raised $8,400, breaking the previous record of $7,900.

From Leo’s Food Services web page: “Thank you to the following companies & the CVU School Store that helped Make Cafe for a Cause a huge success:  The cafe raised more than $8,400 this year to be donated to the two great charities chosen this year.  After the Track, a race horse rescue in Hinesburg & Vermont Haiti Relief Project.”

Leo Dishes on Café Changes

Ms. Madison Hakey

Many of us have noted some changes in the café’s assortment of snacks this year, but these are not the only changes taking place. Due to new regulations surrounding food served in schools across the country, almost everything has been adjusted in our café. While Leo Laforce agrees with most of the new regulations, he stated that “there were some regulations that were just ridiculous.”

The NSDA began to pass these new regulations two years ago and have been updating them since; “last year, 50 percent of any breads of grains that we used did not need to be whole grain. This year the regulation says 100 percent of any breads or grains that we use need to be whole grain,” Laforce told me. This may not seem like a huge deal, but when considering that we consume approximately 6 loaves of bread, 108 hamburger rolls, 216 tortilla wraps, and 24 sandwich buns everyday, it’s a big change. Also, as Laforce pointed out, a lot of whole grain products are not good; “it took me a while researching tortillas to try to find one that the students not only liked but that I, myself, could look at it and go that doesn’t taste like cardboard.”

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