SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (KCAU) – Businesses throughout Siouxland are making the tough decision to close their doors, cut back hours, and let go of employees. To help combat the problem, a local coffee shop owner is asking customers to step up and help some of her high school employees.
Each day at Hawks Coffee Shop in Sergeant Bluff, they will be highlighting one of their three high school senior employees. The tips and donations coming in go directly to the student to help them pay for college expenses.
High school seniors Deric Fitzgerald and Daniel Wright have been put through a lot these past few weeks. They have missed out on time spent with their friends, classmates, and teammates due to COVID-19 precautions.
“It’s a little saddening, knowing that I may not be able to finish my senior year, but there’s not much you can really do about it,” said Fitzgerald.
“It is what it is. This is the reality we are faced with, and there’s not really anything we can do about it besides staying positive and keep moving,” said Wright.
With so much free time, the two seniors were hoping to pick up some extra shifts at their part-time job.
“I would love to give them more hours, but I don’t have the ability to do that right now. Also, with all the uncertainty of how long we will get to stay open and finances, we have had to ask employees to stay home. And I’ve tried to find ways so that I can keep them employed and pay them,”
Thinking outside the box, Cyndi Nelson owner of Hawk’s Coffee Shop has turned to her community to ask for help supporting her high school senior employees.
“The fact that people are coming through the drive-through and giving money to these students who can’t work right now is just so heartwarming,” said Nelson.
For the next week, one senior employee will be chosen to receive donations for the public that will go directly towards supporting their future goals.
“It’s really cool knowing that Cindy is looking out for us and knowing that she has our back, because college is expensive and just continuing to make money is helping towards that,” said Wright.
“It doesn’t seem like a lot, but the tips are going to help us throughout college and help pay for some books because those are expensive so we’re thankful for something like this and Cindy and everything, she does for us,” said Fitzgerald.
Nelson said Thursday that Wright was the first senior employee to receive tips. Customers donated a couple of hundred dollars for him that will go directly toward his college expenses. Then Friday, it will be Fitzgerald turn to receiving donations from community members for his college fund.