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On March 30th, 2020, we wrote to our customers to express disappointment that we had to postpone hiring our next Changemaker employee due to risks posed by COVID-19, which was still a relative mystery to us all. At that time, we believed that this would be a temporary setback to the fulfillment of our mission to create jobs that end homelessness. Like most of us, we did not anticipate how much COVID-19 would change our world or for how long. In the months since, we have been waiting to find the right moment when it feels safe and responsible to hire again – to work side by side in the kitchen without fear of the close contact needed to properly train new staff and collaborate the way we have in the past. As we all have seen, however, COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Thankfully, Changemaker is not going anywhere either, but we will need to continue to operate carefully and make the best decisions we can given the public health circumstances. Since we opened Changemaker for business in mid-2019, we have been committed to providing jobs for individuals who recently moved from homelessness into housing, and we have seen tremendous support for our mission from you, our customers. For us, the mission, alongside our commitment to providing quality chocolate and customer service, has always been first, and profit is a tool that allows us to continue to advance that mission. Sadly, the ongoing devastation of COVID-19 has led us to the very difficult decision that we will have to continue our hold on hiring for the foreseeable future, likely at least through the end of 2020.
Since our planned mission-related activities are on hold, it is important to us that we advance our commitment to ending homelessness in our community in other meaningful ways. So, today we are announcing our new plan to donate 30% of our annual 2020 profits to organizations with track records of success in their efforts to end homelessness here in Atlanta: Crossroads Atlanta and Project Community Connections, Inc. (PCCI). We know firsthand the intensity and passion with which these two nonprofit organizations approach ending homelessness, and we are confident that our donation will further the work to end homelessness in Atlanta.
While we leave open the possibility of hiring seasonal workers during the holiday season for tasks outside the kitchen such as delivery service, for now we feel we must pivot in how we accomplish our mission, and we’ll be anxiously awaiting improvements in our nation’s public health status that allow us to feel comfortable hiring in the kitchen again.
We hope that you will think of Changemaker Chocolates for your gifting needs this holiday season knowing that your purchase supports two amazing organizations in Crossroads and PCCI. Your support also strengthens the health of our business so that we can be ready to hire new Changemakers as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.
Eat Chocolate, End Homelessness.
Danny Lester-Drew, Founder & CEO,
Amy Barrow, Co-Founder,
& Laurie Drew, Director of Growth
Learn more about Project Community Connections, Inc. (PCCI):
Learn more about Crossroads Atlanta:
I love chocolate. I mean, I really love it. And I find just about any excuse to eat more. But, before I give you your greatest excuse to eat more chocolate, I should provide some context.
For much of the last 6 years, my main focus has been on ending homelessness in Atlanta. As a social worker, I have worked with a lot of incredibly resilient people who fell on the hardest of times but fought to regain self-sufficiency with a little bit of help from myself and my amazing social work colleagues. More than anything else, I take away two things from this work.
First, the key to ending someone’s homelessness, simple as it sounds, is permanent housing. Ending the immediate crisis of homelessness as quickly as possible allows people the opportunity to focus on the other things they need to do to regain self-sufficiency. My second takeaway is that employers can make the difference between homelessness and housing stability. For many, the next step towards making homelessness permanently a thing of their past after moving into housing is to increase income through employment. This, in my experience, can be the most challenging part of the work being done across the country to end homelessness.
My business partner and fellow social worker Amy Barrow and I decided to do something to change that. With much support from our friends and families, we are excited to introduce you to our company, Changemaker Chocolates. Our mission is to create jobs that empower our neighbors to end their experience of homelessness by providing you with hand-crafted chocolate indulgences of the highest quality. Changemaker Chocolates partners with local nonprofits to identify and hire individuals who have recently entered permanent housing, and our journey has just begun.
So, before you is an opportunity to indulge in some delicious chocolate treats and feel great about doing it. Every order helps us create jobs for those who have recently ended their homelessness. Thank you for taking this journey with us and helping us create opportunities that end homelessness.
Changemaker Chocolates: Eat Chocolate, End Homelessness
Founder & CEO
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