A Wall that Unites People typically build walls to separate. But in late 2015 a few enterprising ambassadors of kindness built a new kind of wall–one that brings people together. They are “Walls of Kindness.” The first reported Wall of Kindness was constructed in December 2015 in Mashhad, Iran(1). The idea has since spread to dozens of other countries. The idea is simple. Someone finds a suitable wall in the community, decorates it, puts up a few hooks, and then puts up a sign that says, “If you don’t need it, leave it. If you need it, take it.”(1) Next the builders post about the wall on Facebook and Twitter, informing the community about the new wall. People in the community then begin to leave their unneeded clothing, food, shoes, and other items. People in the community who need it, take it. Even though it started in the Middle East, … Continue reading
From a Facebook Meme to a Global Movement 2013-2016 In March 2013, just before Easter, Suspended Coffee was little more than a viral Facebook meme of an old Italian tradition– Caffè Sospeso. From different parts of the world, a diverse group of individuals latched onto this amazing idea. Some created websites, some created Facebook pages, some wrote news articles, and some just started asking their local businesses to offer Suspended Coffee. The image above shows where the idea stands today. Not bad for 3 years! How the Suspended Coffee movement evolved After the initial rush of interest, the movement consolidated and John Sweeney emerged as the leader and Chief Kindness Officer of the movement. His Facebook Page amassed a respectable 300,000+ followers. He next built a website, which is now the primary hub of the movement with a searchable database of over 2000 places that offer Suspended Coffee. John gave … Continue reading
Here is a cute, informative video from the UK that explains the basics of Suspended Coffee. Please share it with your friends, family, and friendly neighborhood coffee shops to help spread the word. Suspended Coffee from Mummu on Vimeo. A short viral to help spread the word of the goodwill initiative Suspended Coffee, offering a warm cuppa to those in need. Please share to help spread the word. Production Company: Mummu Director: Karl Hammond Animation Assistant: Alberta Torres Music production and sound design: Room-24 Studios Voice Over: Martin Allanson www.facebook.com/SuspendedCoffeess www.mummu.co.uk www.room-24.com www.martinallanson.com/
A big thank you to Malcolm Grant in Australia (I love how this movement is so international), who has kindly created a beautiful informational Suspended Coffee Handout that Suspended Coffee supporters (or fanatics) can use to introduce the idea to businesses. The file is in Word so people can print it out and tweak it as they like. It’s in a tri-fold format to make it smaller and easier to hand out. It does a really good job of explaining the idea of Suspended Coffee to newbies. Just click on the link above to download the handout, print some out, and start handing them out to businesses. I have also finished a sample Letter for Businesses that anyone can use. My letter focuses on the business owner’s possible concerns and answers questions that owners may have about offering Suspended Coffees. S.C. supporters can also copy the letter contents and send … Continue reading
Suspended Coffee is continuing its phenomenal explosion around the globe, now reaching restaurants in China and the Philippines. In Xi’an, Shaanxi province, China, a restaurant has started offering “suspended lunches” to patrons. “Gao Wenlin, partner of Yushang Cultural Kitche, located in High-tech Zone of Xi’an, said the restaurant allows customers to buy a maximum 30 portions of free lunches each day.” Free lunch stirred by ‘suspended’ coffee rage Apparently, a debate was started on the micro-blogging site, Weibo, that attracted Chinese celebrities and the People’s Daily. Hopefully, this attention leads to more Chinese participation. It seems there are also a few stores in the Philippines that are offering Suspended Coffee. I couldn’t understand much of what was said in this video, but it’s clear Suspended Coffee has reached Quezon City, Philippines.
New Flyers! I’ve updated the Resources for Business page. There is now a Spanish version of the business flyer in addition to the English and German versions. Plus, per request, I’ve added editable versions for all three flyers. Businesses, feel free to take these, change the wording to suit your needs and add any logos and other images to make it work for your particular business. These flyers are my gift to the Suspended Coffee community. Suspended Coffee is about Community The whole idea of Suspended Coffee is about community: members of the community supporting other members of the community and local businesses. In addition, the Suspended Coffee movement may be the first real movement that started from a viral Facebook meme. While the idea itself came from an old Italian tradition, the current movement started from a post on Facebook. The people that have organized this resurrected Italian tradition, … Continue reading
What makes Suspended Coffee different from other forms of charity I could tell that there was something special about Suspended Coffee when I first heard of it. However, I couldn’t quite put my finger on exactly what was special about it until I saw that Australian news story yesterday. In the piece Daniel Strictland of Mission Australia mentioned that Suspended Coffee allows the poor to go inside food establishments and socialize where they could not go previously. That is the key. It helps end the isolation and invites the poor back into the community. In a small way, Suspended Coffee opens doors and allows the poor and homeless to be more a part of the community. Yes, community shelters give the homeless a place to sleep. Yes, food banks provide food. Yes, people can bring food, beverages and money to those homeless who beg on the street corners. While shelters … Continue reading
The Suspended Coffee movement is growing fast. There are new Facebook pages added almost daily for different regions around the globe and I can’t even begin to imagine how many shops worldwide have adopted this great idea. If you are looking for a shop in your area, try to find the Facebook page for your area and local stores should be listed. If there isn’t one, you could start one! I am proud to note that my flyer made it onto the newscast. Yes, that’s my flyer at 30 sec. and 1:24 min. with the Suspended Coffee Supporter logo that someone else contributed. Amazingly, I made that about a week ago, and it is already in a shop thousands of miles away and on the local news. If that’s what happens in a week, I can’t wait to see what happens in a month or a year.
It’s been over a decade since being put out onto the street, pregnant and with two young kids. I feel my experience could help people understand better what it’s like to be homeless and why Suspended Coffee can make such a difference. There are a lot of misconceptions out there. Personally, I had it easier than many. I managed to stay in shelters. I kept an unstable roof over our heads throughout the ordeal. I got into the charity “system” where I could access the best sources of assistance. The Stress Nonetheless, there was the stress–just astronomical levels of stress. Every moment I felt a knife hanging over my head: Will we have a place to stay? Would we be safe? Many nights in the shelters were pockmarked were the sounds of nearby bullets. I was forced to work with a former drug lord at a food bank to “earn” my $400/mo. TANF … Continue reading
After Suspended Coffee’s initial wave of popularity on the social media, critics have come out of the woodwork to cut down the idea. Some have been blatantly trolls, some have been hopelessly cynical, and some have made good points. Here is a summary of some of the criticisms. None have dampened my belief that this is a good idea. Here is my personal response to eight of these criticisms. Criticism: “Suspended Coffee” is a marketing scam. Reply: This started as a response to a Facebook post that went viral just before Easter and featured a picture from the Washington Post of a homeless man named Cal Walker. I knew it was a good idea right away and got this domain and plan to develop this site. I am committed to not making any money from it. My personal work is and will remain free for others to use. Max of … Continue reading