August 24, 2012

Coffee for the Homeless: Buy a Sandwich and Drink for Hungry Folks

Disclaimer Before Posting: This is not to toot my own horn. I don't know 99.9% of you in real life and have nothing to gain by the following post. I'm writing it to challenge you, my dear cafeinated readers, to do a good thing too.

This morning, I stopped into a local coffee shop, part of a large national chain. The coffee is passable, but it is also convenient and I had run out at home. With a busy day ahead, I dashed in to buy a cup to go.

A homeless woman slept in the corner, slumped in a couch out of general sight, but regulars would often sit there and read or laptop for hours at a time. Their spot in this crowded cafe was taken.

It was 7:15 am. The cafe opened at 6:00 am, so she could not have been there long. Why would she get up from wherever she was at night only to head to the cafe to sleep? I don't know.

I thought about my opportunity to help her: This same cafe offers a range of sandwiches. The woman, I expect, would wake up hungry. And, if she was not, another homeless person would wander in from the heat of the day looking for cool shelter, hungry.

I worked it out with the barista to offer the woman a sandwich and drink of her choosing, and to charge me for it. This was maybe $5.00, not more than $6.00.

The homeless woman might refuse. I personally don't like the sandwiches there. I expect othes do not as well. Not a problem. At worst, I wasted $5.00. At best, I invested $5.00.

Some of you reading this have similar opportunities. That's what I want you to think about. Don't just buy a gift card. Those can be lost, or traded, or otherwise purchased in vain. Buy a meal for someone.

I was not going to be there when she woke up. I'll ask the barista next time I am in how things went. I'll report back here if I have news.

Take my challenge. Look around the cafes you frequent. Take a risk. Most of you can give $5.00 to lift the morale and reduce the hunger (and stress) of someone. If you can afford coffee shop coffee, not matter where you buy it (even McDonald's or Dunkin Donuts), you can do this.