Java Joint helps family of local man with ALS
In a tiny coffee shop, 160 square feet to be exact, a caring shop owner recently raised several thousand dollars to help a local family.
Betty Hockman, owner operator of Java Joint, 7370 Hamilton Blvd., asked customers to donate $5, about the cost of a large mochaccino, to help Brett Snyder and his family.
Snyder, of Lower Macungie, a star football athlete at Northwestern High School in the 1990s as well as at Lehigh University, was diagnosed with amyotrophic leteral sclerosis, perhaps better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, in 2003. There is no cure or treatment for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease, according to the ALS Association.
At the time, Snyder was expected to survive less than two years, according to a recent article in the online edition of the Lehigh University alumni magazine "The Brown and White."
Snyder played fullback for the Lehigh University football team and was a team captain. He was a starter throughout his career at Lehigh.
Before his illness Snyder often visited Hockman's shop. His favorite drink was a large mochaccino.
Hockman asked customers to donate the cost of a large mochaccino coffee drink between Sept. 17 and Oct. 17 to help the Snyders.
Customers generously donated the price of the speciality coffee drink. Some customers would give more, handing coffee shop staff $50 and $100 bills. Java Joint vendors and several local businesses also gave money or donated gift certificates.
"It was a terrific response," Hockman said.
Coffee fans learned of the campaign on social media, through flyers at Java Joint and by word-of-mouth.
Carissa Snyder, Brett's wife, is the primary caregiver for Brett and their two sons, Tate and Luke.
The family is an inspiration to Hockman and others.
"This whole thing is about them," Hockman said of the Snyders and her fundraising campaign.
Donors wrote their names on small coffee cup shaped signs to show their support and Hockman and her staff taped the cups to the windows and walls of the shop. Some donors wrote notes to the Snyders. Others offered prayers
"We don't need an 'ice bucket,' Hockman said of the fundraiser, referring to the viral media campaign Ice Bucket Challenge of the summer of 2014. The national campaign raised millions for dollars for ALS research.
However, those at the grass roots need help, too.
"The focus is on him [Brett] and his care," Hockman said.
All of the money raised at Java Joint goes to the Snyder family.
"I would joke with people. There are no administrative costs," Hockman said.
Donations are still being accepted at Java Joint to help the Snyder family.