Coffee for convicts: 'Keep the inmates in jail'

EUGENE, Ore. - They're very well known for all-day charity fundraisers, but Friday will be a first for Dutch Bros. in Lane County.

The company will be selling its coffee for bedspace in the county jail.

You might call May 10 "lattes for law enforcement" at Dutch Bros. as people can walk away with more than just their cup of joe.

Nearly all Lane County Dutch Bros stores are sending all sales proceeds to the cash-strapped Lane County Jail.

Franchise owner Chris Stewart says the sheriff's office went to Dutch Bros with the idea.

"As time has gone, we've been watching everybody in the community has been watching how we've been turning all these people back out of the jail," said Stewart.

Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner said he appreciates the coffee vendor getting involved.

"That really is showing that effort and it shows that contribution and it shows that people are trying to support us as best they can," explained Turner.

Caffeine sales for cells - a rather novel concept, but Stewart wants to make one point very clear. There's no political statement behind the charity, even with the election less than two weeks away.

"We're not trying to influence any ballot measures one way or another," said Stewart.

Customers KVAL News talked to on Thursday voiced their strong support for the idea. Teddy Johnson said, "My brother is a deputy so I know that they actually need a lot of help right now."

Kathy Heniges told KVAL News, "The community needs to keep the inmates in jail, to keep our community safe."

The sheriff says of course, one day of coffee sales is just a drop in the cup, but every but helps.

"I just encourage everyone to come down because we need all the help we can get and this is a great step forward," said Tom Turner.

All Lane County Dutch Bros outlets are involved in the fundraiser Friday except the stores in Florence.