Features Southern Alberta

Hatter delivers coffee by bike to raise money for food bank

Hatter John Whidden spent his Thursday biking around the city delivering coffee. He raised $800 for the local food bank and $400 for the Calgary Food Bank. (Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)

By Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/Medicine Hat News

Going for a bike ride in the middle of December with a 30-pound backpack isn’t exactly a popular winter activity.

But for Hatter John Whidden, it was something he was quite excited for.

Whidden started his Thursday trek around 8:30 a.m. in South Ridge and made his way around the city, delivering coffee to those who ordered it.

“I’m delivering One Gray Knight coffee again this year as part of a CBC Eyeopener campaign,” he said. “Folks in Calgary get their shot at buying this coffee every year, so I decided to put a southern Alberta spin on it and offer it here in Medicine Hat.

“Proceeds from my coffee sales go to the Calgary Food Bank and then there’s a place to donate directly to the Medicine Hat and District Food Bank.”

Whidden ended up raising around $400 through his coffee sales for Calgary’s food bank, and $800 for the Hat food bank.

“The support was great again,” he said. “I told people I’d be delivering it on my bike no matter what the weather was. I wanted to add some extra incentive for people.

“It is pretty windy today, but I’d say I got pretty lucky with the weather.”

Whidden says the coffee is sought after by Albertans, and that he would like to get a local roaster on board if possible next year.

“People really like this coffee and it’s local to Calgary,” he said. “I would like to get a local company on board to make this totally local next year, but we’ll have to see.”

People who supported the campaign got a mug delivered by Whidden and a bag of coffee. Whidden dropped all of the packages off in a contactless manner.

Whidden says he had 20 bags to deliver and was expecting it to take around three hours, depending on the wind.

He added that it is important for him to give back when possible.

“I feel pretty privileged to not have to worry about where my next meal comes from,” he said. “I’m just happy to contribute in some tiny way to people who need food.”