Coffee cheer flows in Leongatha through ‘Cup of Kindness’ partnership
One customer’s generosity has inspired an arrangement between Leongatha’s Joe the Barista cafe and the local Salvation Army in the South Gippsland Shire of Victoria to enable people to provide someone with a ‘Cup of Kindness’.
“The customer said she wanted to give somebody else her free coffee off her loyalty card,” Joe Licciardi said. “Then we thought, what if we could give people the option to buy a coffee for someone they didn’t know, just to give something back.”
When contemplating how to implement the idea and determine who would receive the pay-it-forward coffees, Joe approached the Leongatha Salvation Army.
It was decided to create Cup of Kindness cards, which look much like coffee loyalty cards. People can choose to shout someone a small or large coffee, with the size then marked on one of the new cards. Joe then gives the cards to The Salvation Army to distribute to those in need through its Emergency Relief service.
“Coffee is one of the first things that goes if people are struggling financially,” Leongatha Corps Officer Captain Amanda Hart said.
Increasing costs of living have led to the Leongatha Salvos team seeing new people coming for assistance, as well as familiar faces.
“It’s a big step to walk in the door and ask for help,” Amanda said.
The Emergency Relief service enables people to obtain food, with the chance to have a chat.
“In those conversations, we then have an opportunity to say, ‘Would you like a free coffee?’, so I think it’s a great partnership,” Amanda said. “No one should have to put up with instant coffee,” she added, noting that with increased social isolation since COVID-19, there is also an important social element to people going out for coffee and mixing with others.
Those keen to shout someone a coffee have the choice between a $4.50 small cup or a $5.50 large.
Joe the Barista is located in the Leongatha Health Food store at 33 Bair Street.
Article and photo reprinted with permission from the South Gippsland Sentinel Times