Sunday, June 4, 2023

Paying it Forward a Cup at a Time

By Stephen Vance, Staff

A Meaford coffee shop is offering their patrons a new and unique way to “pay it forward”.  Suspended Coffee is the name of the initiative, and Donna Ferguson, owner of McGinty’s Cafe on Sykes Street, hopes that it will catch on with her customers.

The concept is very similar to ‘paying it forward’. Somebody can come into the cafe, make their purchases, and then they can buy additional coffee (or coffees), and suspend it until the next customer comes in, or to be used for a customer of our choice,” Ferguson told The Independent, adding that it was a customer who first introduced her to the idea.

The concept is said to have been developed just a year ago by a man from Cork, Ireland. John Sweeney, a married father of four children took his idea to social media, and the idea began to spread across the globe. According to the website, approximately 100 coffee shops in North America have signed on to be part of the movement.

While the suspended coffee concept has become popular over the last year, the organizers say that the tradition goes back many years.

The tradition of suspended coffee dates back more than a century to Naples, though it declined in popularity after World War II. During the recent global economic crisis, the practice was revived and, in the age of social media, suspended coffee quickly became a global phenomenon,” says Sweeney on the website.

An unexpected free coffee can be a smile-inducing surprise for McGinty’s patrons, and Ferguson, who has owned the cafe for three years, is hoping her customers will participate.

Ferguson said that her cafe typically sees between 100 and 200 customers each day, and that translates into a lot of coffee sales.

I’m hoping it will take off, and will create more generosity in the community because I think we need that,” suggested Ferguson.

How did this reporter find out about the new initiative? While purchasing his morning coffee, only to be told it had been paid for. It may have only saved two dollars, but the act itself provided a reminder of the power of community resting in the small things in life.

It can brighten someone’s day, a cup of coffee,” said Ferguson. “If there’s a mother that comes in with her child and she’s having a stressful day, or the customer is down on their luck, or you just feel like giving the suspended coffee to that person. It makes them realize that someone has taken the time to think of someone they might not even know, or ever meet. It’s amazing,” says Ferguson.

Think about suspending a coffee the next time you are purchasing your morning caffeine fix.

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