Social Justice

Spotlight Nonprofit: Creating a way to tackle poverty with coffee and “Simply Smiles”

Spotlight Nonprofit: Creating a way to tackle poverty with coffee and “Simply Smiles”

LatinaLista — Indian-American singer Anand Bhatt is what many would call a "Latino at heart." This 37-year-old who grew up in Chicago has a love affair with Mexico. So much so, that it's not surprising he found himself picking up the language and, before long, crooning tropical pop music in Español, alongside, Hindi and English.

Bhatt tells Latina Lista that Latin and Indian culture fuse together so naturally that his singing in Spanish is a natural extension of playing Latin music. The Latin Recording Arts & Sciences agree with him. Bhatt is in his third year as a voting member.

Another extension of Bhatt's affection for the Latino culture and people can be found with his work promoting a unique organization called Simply Smiles.

Simply Smiles helps impoverished families in Oaxaca, Mexico and reservation residents in South Dakota by working with the families to find a long-term solution to their poverty. What has resulted is a way for these families to receive donations but, at the same time, earn a sustainable living while maintaining their sense of dignity.

Simply Smiles sells coffee in which the profits are used to buy food, build schools, provide medical care and grant scholarships.

The organization works with coffee farmers from Mexico and Colombia to produce a coffee that is "a blend of Fair Trade Certified, Organic Certified, and Rainforest Alliance Certified beans. The beans are expertly roasted and blended, with the final product, the bag of coffee, flushed of air from every one before sealing it to ensure the freshest taste."

The final product is said to be "delicioso."

"Even if people can't buy the coffee," says Bhatt. "They can help by sharing the link. The 2013 results of the Coffee Program provided 30,000+ meals for kids and their families in Oaxaca, Mexico. Now that's one strong cup of coffee!"

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