Monday, December 4, 2023

Aromas introduces new smoothie, gives back to Sentara patients

With the purchase of Aromas’ new Lavender Coffee Smoothie, 20% of the proceeds go towards Sentara patients in need. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Juliana Cantarutti)

WILLIAMSBURG — Locals can enjoy a new sweet drink for spring, while also supporting a good cause. 

Aromas Coffeehouse Bakery and Cafe, located in Merchants Square, has added a new lavender coffee smoothie to their menu.

The drink is available only for a limited time and is part of a fundraiser with William & Mary’s For the Ribbons.

For the Ribbons (FTR) is a nonprofit student-run organization at William & Mary that raises money for those who are financially suffering from medical debt across the country. 

“We’re hoping to eradicate medical debt for at least people in our community,” said FTR president Juliana Cantarutti. “There are a lot of inequities in U.S. healthcare, and we really just want to shed some light on the subject and help people in any way we can.”

This spring, FTR partnered with Sentara, which has an integrated care unit. Patients who do not financially qualify for Medicare, but still cannot afford to pay for treatment without compromising basic necessities, are eligible for this assistance.

“We’re creating a little bit of a relief fund for them,” Cantarutti said. “We’re holding a bunch of fundraisers throughout the semester and just trying to raise awareness for people in need in the community.” 

With the purchase of the lavender coffee smoothie, 20% of the proceeds goes towards Sentara patients in need. 

Michelle Sieling, co-owner of Aromas, said that the business does many fundraisers to give back to the community. She noted that FTR first reached out to them at the beginning of this year about partnering for a fundraiser.

“We were trying to think of something that we could do with them,” Sieling said. “A lot of the time, we’ll do profit shares that will be in the evening for a few hours, but we wanted to do something that would be a bigger bang for the buck.” 

William & Mary students who participate with FTR came up with the idea to do a twist on Aromas’ coffee smoothies. They created the lavender coffee smoothie based on their club’s purple colors, as well as thinking about what kind of drink they would want to try, Cantarutti said. 

As the name suggests, the drink is made with lavender syrup and is a “sweet, spring drink,” Cantarutti said.

This is the first time during this semester that Aromas is doing a specialty drink, Sieling added.

“It’s out of the regular of the fundraising we do,” Sieling said. “The drink has been very well-received and popular.”

In support of FTR’s goal to help Sentara patients receive free medical treatment, Aromas’ lavender coffee smoothie is exclusively available at 431 Prince George St. until the end of the semester this May. 

To learn more about For the Ribbons and other fundraisers they’re hosting this semester, visit their Instagram page or their website


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