Can a Coffee Club Make the Community Better?

Local volunteers get together over coffee to plan good deeds for the community and strengthen friendships in retirement.

By Chris Lynch
Freelance Writer

Al Himmelman was looking for something to do in retirement when he bumped into an old friend at a bagel shop one morning. They got together again for coffee after that, and they've continued nearly every weekday morning for the past 18 years.

“We just started, and more guys joined in,” he says. “Now we have about eight friends gathering here at the coffee shop on any given morning.”

Their rendezvous is a small café in Evergreen, Colorado, which is a modest–sized town of about 10,000 where community service is a big deal.

“We have group members and friends involved with Rotary, Kiwanis, Shining Stars, the arts community and others. We are not a club, but we pursue our own charitable interests together,” he says.

“We are an eclectic group of personalities. However, we all pull together when there's a need.”
– Al Himmelman

“Someone had a nephew in the service, so we sent shoes to kids in Afghanistan and goodie boxes to some soldiers there. People from the community helped box things up. We did that for three years.”

The group members confirm it was a nice project that brought them closer together. However, they're informal about their structure. They don't have an official name, but they might be referred to as The Coffee Guys.

“We are an eclectic group of personalities. However, we all pull together when there's a need. It can be as simple as plowing the driveway for someone who's out of town or more substantial things such as fundraising for a local hospice.

“We have another member who is a musician and helps put on concerts for special–needs individuals or for community fundraising. Together, we're a support group for each other and for the community–cohesive, no squabbling.”

They're a mixed retired bunch who worked in optometry, finance, real estate, law, publishing, banking and so on. After discovering they had a lot in common, they started this unofficial service group–donating their time and support to others. Their wives even get involved.

“We're not the only group like this. There are others,” Himmelman says. “We get together without formal meetings, and what we do just happens.”

In retirement, these charitable individuals were looking for something to keep themselves busy. They ended up getting really busy, doing a lot for the community and each other. And they even brought a feel–good vibe to a terrific little coffee shop just around the corner, too.

What would you like to do in retirement? Visit Jackson.com

The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and individuals quoted and should not be construed as a recommendation or as complete. Chris Lynch is not affiliated with Jackson National Life Distributors LLC.

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