The joy of giving back
Most of us reading this, if not all, have the means to make someone's life easier - financially or materially. Most of us are also willing to take the step to share and care for someone, but what makes us stagnate is initiative. Just as we crave instant gratification, we also tend to demand the easiest solutions when it comes to just about everything. While some solutions require more time and effort, there are some which can be instant and truly life-changing! In this blog, we will share some examples of innovative yet simple strategies people have developed to help those in need while simultaneously initiating acts of kindness and reducing material and food waste.
1. Cafeè Sospeso
Cafeè Sospeso is an Italian tradition that dates back to the Neapolitan era in the late 1800s. It consists of paying the price of a coffee that can be suspended later - this way, everyone who comes to the coffee shop/restaurant can benefit from your good deed.
There are many rumors about how this tradition started. Some have heard from their grandparents that it was a way for nobles to share their happiness when they won at the horse show, or simply to impress a young woman at the café by paying for her drink. Others share how this tradition blossomed after the Second World War II as a beacon of hope.
What matters, however, is that this cause has become a step towards solidarity in light of the people who cannot afford coffee.
2. The Philadelphia pizza shop that feeds the homeless one slice at a time
Inspired by the Italians and their coffee, Rosa's Fresh Pizza shop in Philadelphia has taken a similar initiative, providing homeless people with slices of pizza that paying customers can buy for $1 each. Once they pay, they can pin a post-it note for the next customer to use. Currently, the restaurant feeds about 100 homeless people a day through its initiative - and not only that, some of them have even been hired by Rosa' Fresh Pizza!
3. The Kosovar supermarket bill campaign
“Barazo Faturen" is a campaign that the Kosovar supermarket chain Meridian Express has been organizing for years in a row now to help their local S.O.S kindergarten (orphanage). How do they do it? By enabling their customers the option to round up their bill, thereby donating those few cents to the cause. If your total bill is $4.97, you have the option to round up to $5 and donate the remaining 3 cents. It may not sound like much, but believe it or not, last year they were able to raise €6,048 for the orphanage!
4. A quote a day
Another way for restaurant/café owners to spread love to their customers and community is not only by sharing money but also inspirational quotes. One example of this is Café Fresko in Indiana, whose employees started writing short quotes for their customers on their coffee sleeves when things were not busy. It quickly became a trend where they write up to 200 quotes a day!
The founder of the coffee shop shared that she did not want to stop at just the quotes, she wanted to motivate her customers to make a real active change. How did she do that? She suggested they do a good deed, such as donating clothes to a homeless shelter or writing letters to veterans - and if customers put it into action and take a picture of it, they get a free cup of coffee.
This way, they not only donate, but they also see the real impact of their actions and the lives they change.
5. Hanger solidarity campaign in Brazil
As colder times approached in Brazil, citizens decided to initiate an act of kindness that would go a long way. Their strategy? Simple. They distributed hangers throughout the city for people to hang sweaters and other clothing they no longer wear so they can be used by anyone who needs them. This way, no one gets cold, no fabric is wasted, and Brazilian citizens become more connected.
Simple, right? Sometimes, less really is more.
Written by Aurora Hyseni