Have you heard about this? I did a year or so ago but have never had a chance to put it into action. The idea is simple. You visit a coffee shop that has joined the Suspended Coffee movement, buy a coffee, and pay for a second one at the same time. The second one is then donated to somebody who can’t afford to buy one for themselves.
At Suspended Coffees, we restore faith, by highlighting the simple acts of kindness happening all around us, and encouraging others to do the same.
Kindness can come in many forms, including the purchase of a suspended coffee, which is the very idea that inspired this movement. A suspended coffee is the advance purchase of a cup of coffee for someone who needs it, no matter why.
But it really is about so much more than the coffee. It can provide physical comfort, conversation, a smile or even a laugh, and a sense of belonging. A suspended coffee can change lives, sometimes even save them.
The spirit and ambition of the Suspended Coffee movement is supported by thousands of cafés around the world, places that are at the hub of local communities, serving suspended coffees (and more) and sharing goodwill and compassion every day.
For all sorts of reasons I love this idea. It makes the donation more real somehow. Rather than putting a couple of quid into a charity box or signing a direct debit mandate this is immediate. Both of those ways of donating to charity are perfectly valid, don’t get me wrong (lord knows I would never be disparaging about any donation made to charity) but I love that this cuts out all the red tape and middle men. For a couple of quid the next person who wanders in, as I did, might be the person being helped.
We had been to the London Coffee Festival, where coffee was obviously high on the agenda. It was also a day of spending time with friends, and also a bit of money we had put by for our day in London. The four of us being in a position where we could do that without having to worry too much about it, whilst appreciating many are not so lucky. We bought our tickets for the Festival and had spent a few hours wandering amongst the shiny coffee machines, home roasters, bean suppliers, cake bakers, latest revolutionary way to make coffee, all of which reinforced the belief that coffee is essential. And it is. It is the only way some people can function. Can get out of bed. But also that it can be expensive. More expensive than many can afford on a regular basis.
But for many though that is not possible. For all sorts of reasons, not necessarily just because they are homeless, they might just be broke. JK Rowling famously made her one cup of coffee last all day when she was sitting in a coffee shop penning Harry Potter, but she wasn’t homeless, she was a struggling single parent. Somebody who liked the buzz of the coffee shop and didn’t want to sit at home, alone, all day.
The person who gets my suspended coffee is unlikely to be the next JK Rowling, let’s face it. But somebody coming in from the rain maybe. Or looking to sit down for half an hour. Or to be treated as a human being. To sit at a table and coo over the baby in the push chair at the next table, enjoying conversation with a stranger. To pretend they are in London for a day with friends.
As we wandered down Brick Lane in search of my favourite bagel shop I spotted the “Anti Shop” and laughed at the name, and then looked more closely at the window. Funnily enough it wasn’t the red velvet cake or rainbow cake that grabbed my attention but a small sign on the left hand side. I was awash with caffeine already but just had to go in and buy a couple of lattes:
To whoever it is, that cup of coffee will be more than just a cup of coffee, and will be worth more to them than £1.80 is to me.