Bringing Coffee to the Troops: Setting Up A Coffee House in Iraq

From: GroupWeb
Published: Mon May 02 2005

NEWBURY PARK, CA – For U.S. troops in Iraq, getting the comforts of home has been a constant struggle. Suzelle Aguirre, a volunteer with the non-profit Soldiers’ Angels,, got an email from one of her soldier donees, SFC Rick Weiss, asking about the possibility of setting up a coffee house in Iraq. With the help of Soldiers’ Angels,, and the FBI, his idea is now becoming a reality.

SFC Weiss, who is in charge of morale, welfare, and recreation at the base in Al Taqaddum, wrote in "Since arriving, I have gotten the temporary movie theater up and running… working on the coffee house. I am hopeful that I will find ‘funding’ as we call it over here for the equipment to fill the MWR building." Suzelle helped get him that ‘funding.’

Suzelle found a friend amongst the 27,000 Soldiers’ Angels volunteers to help in her endeavor. Debbye Shepard, a fellow volunteer, had a connection to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, and the company was more than happy to assist. They made a generous donation of eleven pallets of coffee, enough for approximately 250,000 cups of coffee, and they continue to donate more.

Then, the problem became where to put the coffee and how to get it over to SFC Weiss. This past year, Soldiers’ Angels teamed with, the world’s first e-store to exclusively offer travel size items, to create a line of care packages that could be sent to their donor recipients overseas. The relationship has grown, and now provides warehousing and fulfillment services for the organization.’ Senior Project Manager, Joan Sandoval, worked with Soldiers’ Angels to create a fulfillment program to help get the coffee over to SFC Weiss. Sandoval happened to talk about the project with a friend of hers of the Los Angeles FBI office, and learned that they were looking to do a community service project. Within days, a dozen FBI field agents came to the Minimus warehouse and spent the day boxing up the coffee and preparing it for shipment to Iraq. "The agents loved it. It was a truly rewarding experience," notes Sandoval.

While a lot of the coffee is already on its way to Iraq, there is still more to be sent. Soldiers’ Angels is accepting donations for the mailing of the coffee via their website at For $13, a 7-9lb box of coffee is sent to the newly named "Soldiers’ Angels Coffee House," at Al Taqaddum, for the soldiers to enjoy.

For additional information contact: Paul Shrater, VP of Marketing,, or 805-480-1415.

About Minimus – The website,, was launched on July 6, 2004. The e-store outlet of Minimus, LLC offers over 700 individual and travel size products in a wide range of categories including beverages, food products, personal care items, and pharmacy related items.

About Soldiers’ Angels – Soldiers' Angels,, is an organization founded by Patti Patton-Bader, mother of Spc. Brandon Varn, who has recently returned from a year's deployment to Iraq. Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer run, non-profit organization, incorporated in the state of Nevada. Soldiers' Angels started in June of 2003. The Soldiers' Angels mission is to provide aide and comfort to any of the armed forces and their families.

About The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® :Founded in 1963, The Coffee Bean & Tea
Leaf® is the oldest and largest privately held chain of specialty coffee and tea stores in the United States. With a reputation for excellence, the company is a leader in product innovations, having developed the original Ice Blended®. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® serves more than 100 million coffee and tea beverages annually worldwide. Providing the highest quality coffees and teas for forty years, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® currently has more than 300 stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Brunei, Indonesia, Kuwait, UAE, Israel, Australia, China and the Philippines and continues to expand both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit .

Paul Shrater, VP of Marketing
805-480-1415 /

Soldiers’ Angels
Patti Bader, Founder
626-398-4224 /

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®
Ellen Belot, Community Relations Manager
310-237-2394 /


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