The eight Mount Si High School students who designed the custom coffee sleeves. From left, back row: Dawson Bolen, Natalie Ng, Brandon Roberts, Delany Edwards, Lillian Nordbey. Front row: Jasper Chee and Emily Creed. (Evan Pappas/Staff Photo)

Creative student project supports food bank: Mount Si graphic designers design fundraiser coffee sleeves

Thanks to the efforts of student designers at Mount Si High School, the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank will be able to help more people to have a Merry Christmas.

Graphic designers from teacher Joe Dockery’s class worked with local coffee shops to raise $315 to donate to the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank to help fund the purchase of turkeys for the holidays.

A group of eight students designed nine custom coffee cup sleeves to sell at the Mount Si High School coffee stand for a minimum donation of 50 cents.

To promote donations, the group came up with a way to drive people to buy more than one cup of coffee. The designers went to local coffee shops, Huxdotter’s in North Bend and Brewed Awakening in Snoqualmie, for donations of gift cards to each of the shops as raffle prizes. Students could enter that raffle if they collected all nine sleeve designs.

The coffee shops that partnered with the students also offered to match the money made by the group in its nine days of sales, to help with the donation to the food bank. On Thursday, Dec. 15, the students counted their total earnings, $105 from their sleeve sales.

“Whatever we make here is getting tripled because it’s getting matched by Huxdotter, and then also getting matched by Brewed Awakening to then donate to the food bank,” said Brandon Roberts, one of the student designers.

With the matching amounts from Huxdotter Coffee and Brewed Awakening, their donation came to $315.

Roberts explained that students used various design software tools to create their designs and print them to the required specifications.

“Some did them on Illustrator, some did them on Photoshop, mine were all hand-drawn and then taken into Photoshop,” Roberts said. “It was really cool how each designer got to make their own sleeve and put their own personality, their own cool unique style behind it and actually show the work that they are proud of.”

Being able to combine a creative outlet and a way to give back to the community is why the students got involved.

“To know that the money being raised is going to a good cause, it’s good feelings all around,” Roberts said.

The groups’ designs ranged from festive holiday themes, to less seasonal, more abstract art.

Emily Creed, another student designer, detailed the process she used to create the sleeves from a creative and practical perspective.

“We printed them on thicker paper, cut it out and glued them together. A student commented that they weren’t insulated enough so then we just glued a little insulation in there,” Creed said.

“We each made one design, some were holiday themed, some were teeth, We wanted to appeal to all the students here. Many teenage girls wanted happy little snowmen, but there are also teenage boys,” she added, laughing.

Dockery got the idea for this project after viewing the collection of festive Starbucks coffee cups collected in the main office of the high school. Seeing the display reminded him of a similar project.

“A few years ago one of our coffee cart ladies had breast cancer and we did it in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We had never done it for the holidays,” he said. The kids, “were very excited about this. They came up with the idea of making it a fundraiser for the food bank.”

“They wanted to make it something directly impacting our community,” he said.

Originally, they thought about going out to buy holiday hams and distributing them to people in need themselves, Dockery said, “but it’s kind of hard to identify the right person… whereas the food bank already has that organization set up, they’ve already identified the people in need, and they can actually buy turkeys at a discounted price, so the money can go further that way.”

On Friday, Dec. 16, the students collected the matching funds from Huxdotter Coffee and Brewed Awakening, and donated the total to the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank. Heidi Dukich, executive director of the food bank, thanked the students for finding a creative way to contribute.

“We are grateful the students are engaged and helping the community,” she said. “It’s a really creative way to help out and we appreciate it.”