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Cafe of the Month - July 2021

Our July Café of the Month is Hairy Dog Café in Gembrook, Victoria.  

A horrific storm swept through rural Victoria in the Dandenong ranges with gale force winds lasting up to 18 hours. Over 380,000 homes were left without power and  over 110 houses were damaged by falling trees and debris. A charity was created in response to the natural disaster called The Soup Angels. Since the recent storm, The Soup Angels have been making 1000 meals a day to feed those who were impacted.

Owners Helen and Craig of Hairy Dog Café stepped up by donating vegetables, rice and supermarket vouchers to Soup Angels to help out those in need. As a Merlo wholesale partner, Helen reached out to Merlo for a donation of coffee. A bright, blue box of Merlo coffee beans was delivered to Hairy Dog Café and Kerry from the Soup Angels collected to hand out to the people on the front line. Helen said 'It's really the simple acts of kindness that truly means the world to people.'

Hairy Dog Cafe

If you wish to check out The Soup Angels and support their incredible work, please head to their Facebook page.

Hairy Dog Café is located an hour outside of Melbourne, which offers breakfast classics to roasts, curries and burgers (with incredible chips) for lunch. 

Hairy Dog Cafe

Take a look at Hairy Dog's Café Instagram or Facebook. Not only do Helen and and Craig have such kind and generous hearts, but they do great coffee and delicious food! During the Summer months the café is also open on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Our Account Manager in Victoria, Mario Petkovski, caught up with Helen to ask about the recent storms and being a Merlo wholesale customer. Check out the responses below!

Location: Gembrook, Dandenong Ranges, Victoria

Owner’s Names: Helen and Craig “The Hairy Dog” Moir

How long have you been in operation?

It will be 3 years in January. In this time there has been two major bushfires, one damaging storm and one global pandemic.

What type of food do you serve? 

Modern Australian cuisine.

Tell us about the fundraising you've been doing: 

We started with the donations about a month ago when a huge storm came through Victoria and was really damaging to the Dandenong ranges. A charity was created in response to the storm called The Soup Angels of the Dandenong ranges, who have been making up to 1,000 meals a day to feed people badly affected and without power. Helen and Craig donated vegetables, rice and supermarket vouchers and the Soup Angels were able to make over 1000 vegetarian and vegan meals to feed those in need.

Tell us about the impact of the storms – how many people without power, how many homes damaged?

The storm caused major damage to rural Victoria and especially the Dandenong ranges. Gale force winds blew for 18 hours blowing over hundreds of mountain ash trees which are some of the largest trees in the world and can be over 100m tall. The storm caused over 380,000 homes to be without power with over 1,000 homes – particularly in the Dandenong ranges to be without power for over 1 month in the cold Victorian winter. Over 109 houses were damaged by falling trees and countless more were damaged by winds and debris.

What would you like Merlo customers to know?

Helen firstly wanted to raise awareness, this was a major event that was went largely unreported with even many people in Melbourne only 40km away unaware of the scale of the damage. She wanted people to know that when she asked Merlo for help they did so and made a donation of coffee to help out those on the front line and those affected. She told me a story of how when Hairy Dog Café had power restored, she had a customer come in who had coffee and a scone and as soon as she bit in to the scone the customer burst in to tears, just knowing someone had made something for her. After being without heat and power for many days this was overwhelming - the simple act of kindness means a lot to people.

Is there a link people where can donate or a person they can contact to help out?

The Soup Angels of the Dandenong ranges has a Facebook page with information and pictures of everything they are doing. People who want to help in any way can contact them via this page.

Find out more about becoming a Merlo wholesale partner