Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Holiday Food Gifts that Give Back from Cistercian Monks

 This is cool — monk-preneurs.

Looking for new ways to give back this holiday season? How about ordering foodie gifts like gourmet coffee and preserves from Benevolent Blends, an online retailer that dedicates part of its business profit toward national charities, local schools, and even families in need… all based out of their small monastery in Wisconsin.

For over 900 years Cistercians have worked to provide for not only their daily bread, but to provide for the needs of others as well. LaserMonks: The Business Story Nine Hundred Years In The Making (McGraw-Hill, Fall, 2007) tells the story of Cisterian monks who are thriving in the competitive world of e-commerce with their original online enterprise, Laser Monks, but have not lost sight of the Rule of St. Benedict-a centuries-old tradition of kindness, hospitality, and charity. After the modest expenses of the monastery are met, the remaining funds are used for charitable works in the local community and around the world.

Though Laser Monks is the primary source of income for the monks and for their charitable works, the company’s online store now also sells fresh roasted, gourmet coffee and a full line of products from other monasteries including cakes, bread, jams, fudge, books, videos, and CDs from monk e gifts.

Benevolent Blends is committed to promoting the public’s awareness and recognition of environmental, agricultural, and socially responsible initiatives. The company supports programs which improve the quality of living for farm workers and their families in coffee producing regions, by donating proceeds from each sale of Benevolent Blends Coffee either directly to the farmers themselves, or to the organizations which assist these hard working families. This year, Benevolent Blends provided scholarships to students in Panama, helped build a computer and art classroom, allocated funds to a health clinic in a coffee-growing community, and donated to groups such as Coffee Kids, Grounds for Health and TechnoServe.

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