Story by Whitney Carter. Photos provided by BeKinder Coffee.
Jane Gow knew she wanted to help people, but didn’t quite know how to harness that help until she decided to take on the daily grind– literally. Jane founded BeKinder Coffee to provide support and a loving community for refugees and asylees.
“I created the Be Kinder Coffee Project to help bring opportunity, support, and kindness to everyone who needs it in this life – with a special focus on refugees,” Jane describes on her website. “I wanted to create a community that celebrates delicious coffee, kindness, and opportunity.”
As a former refugee herself, Jane says she understands the terror, sadness, and frustration that comes with that title – and also understands the judgment, mistreatment, and misconceptions placed upon refugees by others. Jane was only 13 years old when her family fled Saigon, Vietnam, during a communist regime. Eventually, they ended up here, in Dallas.
While time has passed since her own family’s journey, Jane says that refugees need support now more than ever.
“The world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record,” Jane says. “An unprecedented 117.2 million people around the world will be forcibly displaced or stateless by [the end of this year.] Among them, nearly 43.3 million are children under the age of 18.”
Founded in 2019, BeKinder Coffee was born in Jane’s home kitchen.
“At our very first market, BeKinder Coffee did not yet have any coffee product, but just our baked goods and t-shirts,” Jane says.
Then, the organization grew, much like a coffee bean plant. Today, it is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a compassionate community for refugees and asylees.
“We provide essential job skills, continuing education, and job training opportunities for migrants who participate in our program,” Jane says.
The BeKinder program’s Job Program includes orientation, barista training, on-the-job (entrepreneurship) training, management training, and em
ployment skill training. They also offer an Education Program, which provides college scholarships and mentorships.
She elaborates that their commitment to those in need is based on their brand values. She credits their business for continuing to provide fair-trade organic coffee that is sustainably roasted and ethically sourced.
In a short amount of time, Jane and her team have been able to get their products into a big-name box store, furthering the brand name and the purpose behind it.
“Our partnership with Central Market has been going well,” Jane says. “We launched a few of our products, Todd’s Nola and Audrey’s Healthy Vegan bar, at the Lovers Lane location in Dallas. Each week, we are invited to demo our granola to get the word out to the public. Currently, we are looking to expand with Central Market.”
That partnership has helped in the mission in more ways than one.
“In 2022, we were able to donate $10,000 to help new Afghanistan refugees. In 2023, we hired two employees through our partnership with Central Market,” Jane explains.
Above everything, Jane says the cause remains the same.
“Our focus is to create opportunities for refugees and be a stepping stone as they start their new life in Texas. Our values are rooted in community giving, and our goal is to make kindness go viral,” Jane says.
They hope to continue to spread love and coffee to those who need a jolt of caffeine and happiness. Gow said her company is looking for partnerships to carry their Vietnamese cold brew, locally roasted coffee beans, and baked goods to continue their mission to do more good and create community for those who need it.
If you want to learn more or get involved, you can check out the BeKinder Coffee website here. You can also find them at the Denton Community Market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.