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Coffee is community.

We like the hashtag #coffeeiscommunity. You will see it on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We like it because it is so very, very true and it has never seemed so accurate a description as it has in these last few weeks.

You see, one of our beloved coffee professionals, Veronika Parson, suffered an unfortunate accident in late June while doing some urban exploring. In her quest to capture the beauty in what most would shrug off as derelict and in need of demolition, she fell twenty-five feet through a roof, miraculously surviving with lacerations, seven cracked ribs, and a broken leg that required surgery. We say miraculously not to diminish the injuries she sustained but because it could have been so much worse.

With such injuries comes medical bills, not to mention the other costs that are sometimes forgotten -- rent, food, transportation, and the very heavy cost of being unable to work for at least two to four months. Life can be expensive, as all of us know. And in an amazing feat of kindness and generosity, the St. Louis coffee community -- coffee roasters, baristas, our stupendous customers, and all the other folks that make what we do possible -- has come together to support Veronika.

Last night, Blueprint Coffee graciously hosted part one of what has been dubbed The Veronika Cup, a three-part series of latte art throwdowns to benefit Veronika through a celebration of our wonderful community and the camaraderie of making art and coffee. With unforgettable donations of food and drink made by Gioia's Deli, Urban Chestnut, Loafers, as well as prizes from Blueprint and First Crack Coffee, we came together and raised over three thousand dollars. We saw customers, other service professionals, and tons of baristas -- some representing other coffee shops and some not. But more importantly, we saw friends with tremendously kind souls. Thank you, everybody. I am not sure we can adequately express just how thankful we are and how incredibly special it is to have and be a part of a community like this in St. Louis.

Coffee is community. Thank you for being a part of ours.

If you were unable to make it to the event last night and are interested in contributing monetarily, there is a GoFundMe setup that you can reach here. Stay on the lookout for more updates regarding part two of the Veronika Cup, which we are hoping to host at Rise Coffee next month.