What is a “Suspended” Coffee? Most Americans have no idea what this means. Even though I have spent much time over in Europe and the U.K., quite honestly, neither did I. However in Naples, Italy, there is something called ‘Caffe Sospeso” where someone who is more fortunate financially buys a coffee for another who is not. So, how does this coincide with ISP? I shall now elaborate (and trust me, you want to hear this….)
Initially, I intended to just interview the creator, John Sweeney, to find out what Suspended Coffees was all about and why there is such a hype around the world in a mere 16 months. What started as an interviewed turned into several hour-long Skype sessions, brainstorming, and ultimately partnering for 2015.
John Sweeney is a simple, inconspicuous man from Cork, Ireland – but one I liked – a lot. Probably the nicest human being I have met and I think in many ways, a genius. He knew he wanted to do something to better the world and after one day with some friends inspiration struck him.
Can’t kindness come in any form? Why not offer an act of kindness to someone through a cup of coffee? A Suspended Coffee is “an advance purchase of a cup of coffee for someone that needs it, no matter why”. Whether you are homeless, hungry, a student, down on your paycheck or just in need of an act of kindness that day – this is what this movement is all about. At almost 300,000 fans from across the globe and over 1,800 coffee shops in over 20 countries currently participating, this concept has taken off and is bonding communities and lifting spirits across the world.
So how does it work?
Any coffee shop from around the world can participate and it’s free. They set up a separate account for their suspended coffees for those who wish to donate a cup to another person and once a month they give these suspended coffees back to their own community/neighborhood. Some shops take them to the streets to the homeless, some donate to a particular organization in need that month or some TLC, and some open their doors one morning to the community for anyone who wishes to congregate with others in their town for a morning of free coffee and conversation. It is up to the shop owners how they want to dedicate these funds within their own community.
All you as the patron do (if you choose to) is “suspend” a coffee for another when you pay for yours. So instead of paying $2, you pay $4 and leave bettering the world a little more that day.
Why does it work?
It’s a feel good concept. All it takes is $2.00-$3.00 in a donation when you come in to purchase your morning coffee to know you are making a difference in your community. Patrons are able to give this money to a place where no money is taken out and 100% of their money donated goes back to their own community. The town you live in is the town you give back to knowing you are making a difference to a neighbor in need. You may never know who that neighbor is but you leave knowing you changed someone’s life that day.
How is ISP going to get people involved over in the U.S.?
We are putting both kids and adults to work with this campaign. We are taking it a step further and incorporating this concept into our schools and local businesses. We are going to partner with local coffee shops to get involved. Then we are utilizing our Kindness Ambassadors to help sell the coffee at various school games and events and talk to parents and students about Suspended Coffees and how we are bettering our communities we live in and bringing us all closer together and more supportive of one another through their small donation. This money will go back to the participating coffee shops.
We are also going to partner with local businesses to set up coffee stations every once in awhile for a Suspended Coffees morning. Staff can save a trip to the coffee shop that morning AND give back.
Why will coffee shops want to participate?
It’s a win, win. They participate free of charge and we market for them on school campuses, with parents, local patrons, and local businesses. The shops look great because they are helping their local community and feel good doing it. They also are listed as participating cafes on the Suspended Coffees website as well as on the Infinite Smile Project webpage.
How do I get involved?
For adults: if you know a coffee shop owner have them contact us so we can make them a SC coffee shop for free. If you want to bring this program to your school campus, events, games, or to your work for a buy a coffee – suspend a coffee for your local shop to give back to your community, contact us here.
For kids: One of the integral parts of the Kindness Ambassador Program is that the kids are empowered and asked to get involved with our programs. Our KA’s will partner with ISP, teachers, parents and coffee shop staff to help us spread the world about this program and help sell these coffees at their school events. In return they will gain leadership experience working with businesses and school personnel, coffee shop owners (in conjunction with ISP & parents) and patrons hence giving them a sense of accomplishment by giving back while bettering where they live and play.
So what now? Spread the word, build the support of one another in your community and help us bring this program to local coffee shops, schools and businesses in your area. Check out Suspended Coffee’s popular Facebook page and see what it’s all about.
Lastly, if you would like to have your child be a Kindness Ambassador, email ISP at email@example.com. If you want to help us kick this off please donate here during our December fundraiser for our Kids Kindness Program.
Thanks for a successful first year and we look forward to launching our first ISP campaign in 2015!