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Published December 25th 2015
A new movement that is sweeping the world
I know, this title sounds like a cup of coffee hanging in mid air. However this is not some new magic act in town, nor is it a new band to hit the airwaves. A suspended coffee is actually a real cup of coffee purchased by you, but you don't get to drink it.
A warm cup of coffee is something most of us take for granted. Image by gadosto on pixabay.com
Now why would I want to purchase a cup of coffee and not get to enjoy it, I hear you saying. Because when you participate in the Suspended Coffee program, you are buying it for someone far less fortunate than you.
Image by skeeze on pixabay.com
Someone who does not get the chance to go into a café and sit with the rest of society and relax for half an hour. Someone who feels going into a fine cafe establishment is where they do not fit in. Someone you probably never even think about, because you don't know them. The coffee you purchase will go to someone you will never meet. It is from the pay it forward way philosophy.
Suspended coffee began in Europe where the winters are fierce and many people are not as privileged as some. So a humanitarian came up with the idea. The scheme has now spread all over the world. You can view the suspended coffee website here to inform you more of the history and success of the movement. There is a short video here to tell the world about how it works.
So how does it work? When a patron at a café would like to participate in the scheme, there are no names taken, no emails and no hassles. You simply pay for the suspended coffee with your order, and the money for the give-away coffee is held in trust with the café. When a disadvantaged person requests a coffee, the funds are taken from the trust. Below you see a record board in a café where the coffee that is paid for is recorded and how many have been given away.
When I spoke to Jess, a barista at The Red Lime Shack Café, at Port Adelaide in Australia, she showed me how their record blackboard worked. The board showed there were many suspended coffees in credit, however Jess told me that many coffees can go all at once. Other cafes may use a different system for recording the coffees paid, but all will be up front and tell you how many are being suspended at present. Often a group comes with a worker from the Adelaide Central Mission. They arrive by minibus for an outing to breathe the sea air, and to relax for a while and have a chat together. These men are homeless, living on the city streets. Yet for a short while they can feel like the rest of society by stepping into a fine cafe and taking a seat to enjoy a little normality.
Whatever one's circumstances, if they are struggling they can have a suspended coffee.. Image by PourquioiPas on pixabay.com
Daniel Strictland of Mission Australia has said, "Suspended Coffee allows the poor to go inside food establishments and socialise where they could not go previously". But it is not only for the homeless. Anyone, who is doing it tough can go to a participating café and ask for a suspended coffee. Café staff know their customers and no-one tends to take advantage.
Cafes who participate in the scheme are found in many countries around the world. Some are now introducing suspended burgers or other meals. In Australia they are considering introducing cool drinks as our summers are fierce, and on the street there are no fridges. For now most cafes will just stick to coffee.
When you are down and troubled there is a helping hand- you've got a friend. Image by leroys on pixabay.com
I feel this is a fantastic idea. Many of us are reluctant to give money to charity as there are so many middlemen, we wonder where the money goes. With this scheme you are paying the regular cost of the coffee, and that exact amount is in turn paid to the café. Therefore the business is not out of pocket or asked to make donations. 100 percent of your money goes to the disadvantaged person by way of the cup of coffee. Of course, as with anything there have been criticisms of the scheme, but I am not listing them here. This is a feelgood article, and I believe the good far out ways the negatives here.
Stores can be located on the internet. Just search the combination of facebook, suspended coffee, and the name of the city. A Facebook page will come up giving cafe location in your area.
So for anyone with a social conscience, perhaps you may like to pay for a suspended coffee once a month or so. It will be like buying a friend a coffee; a friend who you will never meet, and one who will much appreciate your kindness. Its a heart warming thing to do.
Show some kindness; and buy a coffee for a friend you will never know. Image by strecosa on pixabay.com