By April Burkhart
Nonprofits will “Get Comfortable” at Creature Comforts Brewing Company this winter as the brewery continues its campaign to help address the issues of poverty, hunger and homelessness in Athens-Clarke County.
“Get Comfortable” will be held from 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays at the brewery and will offer staff and volunteers from area nonprofits a chance to talk with Creature Comforts customers about their agency, its mission and how its work helps people in need.
“Get Comfortable” also will allow those in attendance to sign up to volunteer at the featured agency and to make donations. Creature Comforts also will donate a percentage of its merchandise sales to the featured organization each week.
Bigger Vision Community Shelter will be the featured nonprofit on Wednesday.
Creatures Comforts CEO Chris Herron said the campaign reflects “community,” one of the six pillars for doing business established at the brewery’s founding.
“We’ve always thought we need to be about more than selling beer. We need to strive to be inspirational and drive change,” he said. “We have this huge facility and with that comes a great sense of responsibility to be a hub of community activity. That’s what we want people to think of when they think of Creature Comforts.”
The brewery’s other community involvements this year included inviting Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson and her electoral challenger, Tim Denson, for a debate prior to this year’s county election.
The brewery also hosted the Athens Farmers Market each Wednesday, at no cost. When the Athens Farmers Market closed for the winter, Herron and his staff decided to continue to offer Wednesday as a “community” day, he said.
“We talked about what’s going on in the community that could use help and decided to do a campaign focused around our brand and what we care about, which is the ‘creature comforts’ of life,” Herron said. “For a lot of people (life is) ... about trying to get out of survival mode, particularly in Athens.”
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that about 34.9 percent of Athens-Clarke County residents are living below the poverty level.
“By helping address poverty, hunger and homelessness we are trying to help people who need help get more comfortable,” Herron said.
Unsure of where to start, Herron contacted Community Connection of Northeast Georgia to find agencies in Athens that worked to address poverty and its related issues. Through the operation of its 2-1-1 telephone line, Community Connection provides more than 20,000 referrals a year to connect residents in need to social service agencies that can help with issues like food, utilities, finding gifts for children during the holidays and more.
“It’s been very eye-opening for us to talk to a lot of these organizations and to work with them out in the community because we don’t see a lot of (the poverty) ... on a day-to-day basis,” Herron said. “We hope the campaign will also open the eyes of others in the community that are like us and don’t see some of these needs every day.”
Future “Get Comfortable” nights include the Athens Area Homeless Shelter, Dec. 17; Community Connection, Jan. 7, and Hands On Northeast Georgia on Jan. 14.
There will be no ”Get Comfortable” events on Dec. 24 or Dec. 31.
For future dates or more information, visit www.creaturecomfortsbeer.com.
To inquire about signing up to be a featured nonprofit at “Get Comfortable,” visit www.communityconnection211.org.