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 and food banks are essential, they still keep the poor and homeless separated from the rest of the community. They are segregated into acceptable areas away from the rest. Worse, usually members of the community will fight to keep shelters away from more prosperous areas, telling the inhabitants, “You are NOT welcome here.”
Food banks and shelters are certainly more efficient in bringing essential goods are services to those that need it. They are essential and I am not advocating ending these forms of charity. However, they do not do well in breaking down the walls that isolate the poor from the rest of the community.
Why Suspended Coffee breaks down barriers and builds community
Not only are the poor being invited to eat with the rest of the community with Suspended Coffee, the people that are doing the inviting are other customers from the community. It is truly a community gesture. It’s not a gift from the government or far-off donors or large corporations looking for a tax break. Suspended Coffee is the community extending a hand to it’s more ostracized and vulnerable members. It says “You are welcome here.”