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Client Spotlight: The CareGivers’ Project

Winston Churchill, the once prime minister of the United Kingdom famously said, “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” At CoffeeAM, this is a principle that we stand by. We undoubtedly have a passion for delivering the highest quality coffee and tea experience to consumers, but we also proudly support noble causes such as The CareGivers’ Project, an amazing organization dedicated to providing resources and support for caregivers and care receivers, and redefining the way we perceive elder caregiving. We had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Jomarie Zeleznik, co-founder and Executive Director at CareGivers' Project, regarding the organization’s unparalleled work, and how CoffeeAM has contributed to their efforts. (1) Please tell us a little bit about the CareGivers' Project and how it started. The CareGivers’ Project began in 2010 when a geriatric physician and a social worker in the Bronx began sharing their experiences of living with their elderly mothers, neither of whom had dementia. These middle-aged women found that most of their experiences didn't match the stereotypical rhetoric surrounding caregiving for elders. The CareGivers' Project’s first event was a mother-daughter potluck that over time was crashed by sons, grandchildren, and people who had deep experiences caring for someone who had died and wanted to stay connected. ‘My Mother’s Recipe,’ has become our signature event, and its history reminds us that daughters are not the only caregivers, and that we must invest in creating a place for future caregivers as well as a place for reflection long after caregiving ends. (2) How did you come across CoffeeAM, and what role has it played in CareGivers' Project? We have a fundraising raffle at My Mother's Recipe, and twice per year our board member Sandra, working from Dallas, actually cold calls small businesses that can potentially donate a food or cooking related item. Sandra found CoffeeAM's website through an online search and got a sense that the people behind the page and its products were givers and aligned with our mission. Our business alliances necessarily have to be kindred spirits. (3) What difference have these donations made in the organization, and why is it important? Well, we earn a little revenue from including the bags of coffee donated by CoffeeAM in our raffle baskets of goodies. People come to My Mother's Recipe because they belong to a caregiving community, and I often hear our members recounting who they met, what food they shared, and the goodies like the coffee that they enjoyed later at home. CoffeeAM's donations are part of sharing a positive experience within a caregiving community. (4) What have been some of your favorite or most memorable special projects at CareGivers' Project? Our website is a growing assemblage where members contribute to exploring what caregiving for an elder is about for them. We have essays, poems and a collection of professional photographic portraits. We are proud of the scope of our format and creative expression is used to explore, enhance, and celebrate caregiving as an individual significant, integrated life experience. (5) What might people be surprised to know about CareGivers' Project? That we have a lot of Gen-Xers and Millenials who are interested in actively having a dialogue to make their future experience of caregiving for an elder different than the experiences of their Boomer parents. (6) What do you hope is in store for the organization's future? We hope that more people of all generations and different parts of the country join us to share and reflect on what caregiving for an elder means to them including the conflict and the reward. If you would like to learn more about The CareGivers’ Project and see how you can help, please visit them today, and for all of your gourmet coffee and tea needs, you have CoffeeAM.
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