With February holding special significance for Matt and Jessica Weafer, the owners of Niko’s Bakery & Cafe wanted to show their appreciation to the community by giving back. The bakery is donating 100 percent of this month’s drip coffee sales to St. Benedict’s Men’s Shelter to sponsor a bed there.
This month marks the second anniversary overall for Niko’s, and it’s been one year since the couple took ownership of the bakery in Wesleyan Park Plaza.
After seeing a post on Facebook about bed sponsorship at St. Benedict’s, Jessica suggested the bakery donate all of their drip coffee sales to the shelter throughout February.
“One of the core values of our business is giving back to our community,” Matt said. “At St Benedict’s, the service they offer is critical to the community. We love their mission. We love what they stand for and what they are doing in the community.”
On Feb. 1, Niko’s made a Facebook post thanking the community for their support and announcing the bakery’s commitment to give back.
“We have loved these past few years getting to grow in our community. We are blessed to be a part of such a wonderful and giving community,” the post reads. “With the theme of love and giving in mind, we’ve decided to celebrate our anniversary by giving back. For the next week, all drip coffee sales will go toward us sponsoring a bed at St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter.”
The $500 annual bed sponsorship enables the shelter to provide linens, hygiene products and medicine to its residents, in addition to case management and behavioral counseling.
Within three weeks, the bakery raised more than $500 — exceeding its goal — but Matt said they will continue to raise funds for the shelter through the end of February.
“We had to sell a lot of coffee to make this happen,” Matt said. “We passed our goal, but we’re still raising more money. It’s exposure for them which is essential, and it’s the funding. One bed, that’s great, and I’m super happy to do that, but there’s a whole year of stuff they need.”
Matt said St. Benedict’s has been the first nonprofit to come to mind when there were additional food or resources available to donate during his years in the restaurant and catering business.
“I haven’t been there, and I don’t have a family member or friend that’s been there,” Matt said. “I just know that it’s important and I know that it’s there.”
The Weafers are involved with multiple area charities, but Matt said this past year has revealed how much the services at St. Benedict’s are needed.
“They provide such an important service to the community, especially right now when there are so many people who have lost their jobs, lost their homes,” Matt said. “There are so many people that need help right now.”
St. Benedict’s Executive Director Harry Pedigo said he has yet to meet the Weafers in person and was taken by surprise by the act of generosity shown by the bakery and the community.
“I found out about them doing this for us via Facebook,” Pedigo said. “Facebook was the conduit. The positive side of social media is it can be a support system too.”
Pedigo said social media has proved to be a very beneficial platform for the shelter to share information with the community.
“I saw that they did more than they anticipated, which is phenomenal,” Pedigo said. “We are overly grateful for their gesture and for the support the community has given them and us. It’s equally important for us to support our local businesses.”
The Weafers said they consider Niko’s blessed to have been one of the local small businesses the community supported throughout the pandemic, and are grateful to count 2020 as a successful year.
“That’s not something the restaurant did, that’s something the community did,” Matt said. “And we wanted to do something to say thank you and this was just the perfect way for us to do that.”