Noelia Bitar doesn’t drink coffee. You would never know it, though, hearing her speak about 1×1 Café. “What if we could change someone’s life with the purchase of our daily coffee?”

Bitar, a Venezuelan architect who has spent the last 24 years in Montreal, says the idea of a doing something came to her during a trip earlier this year.

“I was in New York at the beginning of 2018 and after noticing a restaurant that had a charitable focus, I decided I wanted to create a similar philanthropic project to help Venezuela”, she explained. “I discussed the idea with my brother Naum [Bitar] and my friend Maria [Araujo], and the idea for a pop-up coffee shop came to mind – even though I don’t drink coffee!”. And just like that, 1×1 Café – Coffee for a Cause, a for-profit initiative with the social mission of giving back to the community and to the world, was born.

After the trio decided on a product, all that was left was to decide was where to open their pop-up shop and who to partner with.

The first idea for a location was WeWork’s Place Ville Marie location in Montreal, as Bitar uses it as her own workspace. “I presented the idea to WeWork of opening up 1×1 Café in the main lobby of our building,” Bitar said. “I walked in and asked, ‘What if we could change someone’s life with the purchase of our daily coffee?’ and they have been on board ever since. They have been super supportive and very engaged!”

With the product and location down, it was just a matter of deciding who 1×1 Café would support.

After searching the Internet, they came across Friends of Fe y Alegría’s website and were impressed with the transparency and the variety of projects offered, especially in Venezuela. Following a few conversations with the Friends of Fe y Alegría team, 1×1 Café ultimately selected Friends of Fe y Alegría as their partners.

Now, for every purchase made at their café, 1×1 Café supports Friends of Fe y Alegría’s ‘School Nutrition Program’ in Venezuela, made possible by a collaboration with our Canadian partner, Canadian Jesuits International.

The objective of the program is to improve the health of Fe y Alegría Venezuela students at 19 schools across the country by providing daily breakfast and lunch, which to date directly benefits over 5,000 children.

“The initiative has been very well received by everyone at the WeWork community. Many are concerned by the situation in Venezuela and are happy to be able to contribute with their purchase so that Venezuelan girls and boys can have access to food. Children can’t learn on an empty stomach,” said Bitar.

“We offer a variety of freshly baked goods and our premium quality coffee comes from Nespresso’s ‘The Positive Cup’ program; further ensuring that every cup of coffee we serve has a positive impact”, she stated.

Since their launch on April 2nd, 1×1 Café has been able to donate over $350 USD in support of the project and they hope this is just the beginning. While the first project 1×1 Café is supporting has its roots in Venezuela, as it is Noelia’s and Naum’s home country, their hope is to be able to replicate this initiative throughout WeWork offices worldwide and diversify the number of countries and projects they can support.

Click here to visit 1×1 Café’s ambassador page to learn more about the project and their fundraising goal.

And If you happen to be at WeWork Montreal, stop by and grab a cup of premium coffee and a few freshly baked goods –with your purchase you will be contributing to our ‘School Food Program’ in Venezuela!