One-day coffee shop donates thousands to food bank.
WRITTEN BY ERIN MEYERING
PHOTOS BY JAMIE KINGHAM
It’s pretty unusual for a 5-year-old boy to express an interest in giving back to the less fortunate in his community. But Cyrus Moassessi is different from most children.
Thirteen years ago, Moassessi and his mother, Caroline, started a seasonal orange juice stand after the boy had been saddened to learn about children who might not receive toys during the holidays. With the sole purpose of raising money for Toys for Tots, Moassessi’s mother encouraged him to sell orange juice and dedicate his time to people in need — for just one day. At the time, the family had been living in California’s Bay Area, but the orange juice stand idea followed them to their new home in Reno.
Since then, the concept has evolved into an annual coffee stand and bakery that now raises more than $1,000 per year for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, where a gift of one dollar provides three meals. In effect, the stand has helped feed thousands of people.
Early on, Moassessi recruited help from friend and baking buddy Keinan Herman, who has been involved with the coffee stand for as long as he can remember.
“It feels really good to give back, as cliché as that sounds,” Herman says.
Giving back is just one layer of the story, though. As a child, Cyrus battled several severe food allergies, including to dairy and nuts. In addition, Herman maintains a gluten-free diet. With this keen awareness of food allergies and sensitivities, as well as to dietary restrictions, the boys have opted to provide gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free baked goods. Among these are vegan chocolate chip cookies, peppermint Rice Krispies Treats, and fresh cupcakes, and one of Moassessi’s personal favorites, pumpkin cookies with golden raisins.
“We wanted to create not only an event to support the community by giving to the food bank, but also a social gathering for people with food allergies,” Moassessi says.
Pass the coffeepot
Moassessi and Herman have been operating the stand together for years, and they’ve grown into young men. This fall, Moassessi began his first year at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. Even though the date of this year’s coffee stand falls during final exams, Moassessi plans to make a quick trip home to help out. Although the dry baking mixes will be prepared ahead of time from scratch, he’ll be able to help Herman add the wet ingredients and bake the many items needed.
“The coffee shop/bakery stand bonds them,” says Caroline, adding with a chuckle, “They’ve also gotten very good at quantity baking.”
Although the young men may be growing away from the bakery, they would love for the stand to continue — and to stay in the family. Moassessi’s 13-year-old sister Leila has shown interest in taking it over. Until she fully accepts the responsibilities of the coffee stand, both Moassessi and Herman will be pouring your cups of coffee this December.
Erin Meyering, associate editor at edible Reno-Tahoe, is a sucker for freshly brewed coffee with a splash of cream. Even better? Knowing your milk money is going to a great cause.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Charitable Coffee Stand
Saturday, Dec. 3 • 9 a.m. – noon
12755 Valley Springs Road, Reno
For details, visit http://www.Facebook.com/foodbankcoffeestand