Berry Creek Blend raising money for Edwards middle school |

Berry Creek Blend raising money for Edwards middle school

Carolyn Pope

Have you been trying to find a perky fund raiser? One with some good buzz around it?

At a Berry Creek Middle School Parent-Teachers Association meeting earlier this year, one clever parent suggested selling coffee from Costa Rica. The idea planted a seed – actually, more of a bean, and the bean grew to fruition, with some minor tweaking.

“We thought the idea was great, but we wanted more than a one-shot deal,” said parent Bonnie Vesey. “We wanted this to be available year round.”

Vesey approached Chris Chantler and Craig Arseneau of Vail Mountain Coffee and Tea Company. Vesey and Chantler, along with Terry Mutter, the President of the PTA, put their heads together and created the Berry Creek Blend, a unique fund raiser for the school.

“We’ve been trying to create fund-raising programs like this for charitable organizations and nonprofits. People are buying coffee anyway, so why not buy it and make money for a good cause?” said Chantler. “This is the launch of a program that’s been in the works for some time.”

With the idea percolating, the PTA approached the student body with an art contest for the label. With some 25 entries in, a colorful and printable work by Tori Grundtisch now adorns the bags of beans.

“I love to draw and stuff,” said Tori. “I’ve been drawing since I was three or four, and I’ve liked it ever since.”

Tori walked away with movie tickets and a bit of celebrity.

Right now, parents and the school have sold close to 300 bags The PTA is hoping to find a local merchant who will help find a place where the general can buy the coffee.

The school has many fund raisers, but with the addition of this consumable product, funds are now there to fill many needs.

The money has gone into filling mini-grants for the staff of the school, including Spanish non-fiction books for the library, improving the darkroom, money for the band, science equipment and sending teachers to conferences to enhance their skills.

“We’ve been able to fill more than $3,000 worth of mini-grants for the teachers,” said Vesey. “The coffee has been a big part of it.”

“Every request has been filled this year,” added Terry Mutter.

That certainly makes for happy teachers, and when there are happy teachers, there are happy students and parents.

The coffee is a “blend of beans from Costa Rica, Central America, Nicaragua, Sumatra and a Vienna roast,” said Chantler. “It’s a full-bodied, smooth coffee with a lively aroma.”

The Vail Coffee Company is in its 15th year in the Vail Valley, and they sell all over the state as well as venturing into areas outside of Colorado.

The coffee is sold at the office of Berry Creek Middle School in Edwards as well as at school functions, but rumor has it, if you buy a lot, they might in deliver to you. A 12-ounce bag of whole beans is $10, but if you buy five, you get one free.

And that’s the buzz, and a latte of it!

For information on purchasing Berry Creek Blend, or assisting with a sales venue, please call Bonnie Vesey at 970-376-4431, or send an e-mail to

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