In Bega, coffee and hope are entwined
Most soldiers would jump at the chance to replace ration pack coffee with the freshly brewed variety.
But in Bega, it’s also an example of how indulging tastebuds is soothing community minds.
Behind the scenes, troops are contributing to local businesses following nearby bushfires.
For Ged Gross, who runs mobile coffee business More Than Beans, troops are helping reverse financial losses caused by the fires.
“Their presence means there is a fair bit of hope,” he said.
“We’ve lost a considerable number of contracts and jobs over the summer, however the soldiers bring positivity to the whole area, because it shows that there is going to be an injection to keep the economy going.
“That’s important, because there is a lot of anxiety among businesses and that shakes down to the kids.”
Things also changed when Ged and his wife took their children to an Army kid’s day event.
“After playing with the Army for a day, they changed from ‘playing fighting fires’ to ‘playing Army’,” he said.
“The children’s change shifted everyone else’s attitude back towards what’s going on now.”
But the soldier, coffee-vendor relationship is not all one-way.
Ged brings his Kelpie pup ‘Tuna’ with him.
“The pup has been a hit with the soldiers, with all the chaos that went on and not knowing what they would be doing next.” he said.
“They would play with her and walk her when we pulled up. It’s good for them and good for her too.”