Always a Reason to ‘Give Back’ for Community Cafe

Always a Reason to ‘Give Back’ for Community Cafe
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CJ Martin

CJ Martin

Most people know CJ Martin as the owner of CJ's Cafe in Bronte, but she is also a published poet, a humanitarian, and supporter of the Oakville Arts community.

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Customers of CJ’s Café in Bronte raised over $650 for charities last week – $360 for various charities in a Hallowe’en decorated pumpkin judging, and over $300 more on Random Acts of Kindness Day, and are raising more this week for the United Way.

For Hallowe’en, staff and local artists decorated pumpkins, and customers judged by donating to a cause nominated by the maker.  Michelle Clarke’s pumpkin earned the most votes, earning $99 for the Me to We Program.  Also supported were: Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre, the Oakville Humane Society, the Breast Cancer Foundation, an individual with stomach cancer, and the Fare Share Food Bank.  The pumpkin decorators included Cynthia Dempster, Ashley Elverson, Maureen Fautley, Jessica Holburn, Mary Lyons, Mary & Kayla Rischke, Ann Smithers, in addition to Michelle Clarke.

For Random Acts of Kindness Day, customers donated to support educating teachers in Afghanistan, instead of paying for coffee or tea.  This initiative was chosen because of the involvement of local women who are customers of the Café.  The groups Canadians in Support of Afghan Women and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan are aware that of the need to train more teachers, especially female teachers, who can serve the older girls in rural areas, where school attendance falls off dramatically, partially due to a lack of female teachers to teach them.  Only 50% of Afghan children attend school, with boys outnumbering girls almost 2-1.

Since 2008, 4000 teachers have been trained using modern curriculum and methodology, through the support of funds raised by Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and CIDA grants, surpassing goals.  However CIDA grants have been sharply declining, necessitating fundraising to keep this successful program going.

CJ Martin giving donation to Bev LeFrancois (CSAW)

CJ Martin giving donation to Bev LeFrancois (CSAW)

Their goal for 2013-2018 is to train 5000 more teachers, to reach out to 400,000 Afghan students.  It costs approximately $400,000 per year to train 1000 teachers.   CJ’s customers contributed over $300, and CJ Martin, owner of the Café, is topping it up to $400, to fully pay for one teacher’s training.

CJ’s Café has done two fundraisers per year to support education in Afghanistan for each of the last 6 years, raising thousands of dollars to help build and equip a school, pay a teacher’s salary, and now to help train teachers.

This week CJ’s is also participating in the Oakville United Way’s  Dine for Change program, giving $1 for every vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free item sold to those who mention the United Way when they order.

On an ongoing basis, the Café also sells jewellery made by Beads for Africa, where the entire sales price is contributed to support orphaned children with diabetes in Nairobi Kenya.

CJ also has CJ’s Coffee Fundraising program, which groups and individuals can use to raise money for their cause.  The program involves selling organic coffee that is bought from women coffee growers in Peru , which also helps these women provide food, education and medical care for their children, creating a double win.  CJ has been offering this program for over three years, and has partnered so far with schools, scout packs, and individuals.

CJ’s Café is also pleased to work with non-profits to donate items to help their special event fundraising.

To find out more about teacher training in Afganistan, go to  To learn more about CJ’s Coffee Fundraising Program, go to, and click on fundraising.


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