We received this post from Monica at Waterfront Bakery & Café in Silverdale, Washington. This story really embodies the spirit of the Suspended Coffees movement, and the kindness of the café owners who have joined and supported it. Thank you, all.
In January the government was shut down, and our business was very slow. They may have been somewhat related, though not entirely. I was getting a little scared about it, so I thought about what to do. I thought about how whenever there is fear or scarcity the only way to counteract it is with love. So I posted the following on Instagram and Facebook:
“Are you not getting paid due to the government shutdown? Show us your government ID during this nightmare and let us feed you, without worrying about money. There is nothing to worry about here, just have a good time. There is no obligation or commitment, just relax and enjoy a meal. Eat it here with us, or take it with you, whatever you need. If you want to pay it forward when you get back on the payroll, feel free to purchase something for our suspended coffee program, though you certainly don’t have to. You are still working hard for us, and the least we can do is offer you a meal, so come in, take a breath, and enjoy a meal on us. There are no restrictions, we only want to help you feel valued because you deserve it! Please pass it on to anyone you know who needs this, after all, everyone needs a little help now and then.”
On Facebook, this one post received 849 ‘likes’, 96 comments, 669 shares, 12,475 engagements, and 50,333 people reached. Prior to this post our biggest number for people reached was under 15,000, and there were only a couple of those, so this was huge.
We planned to use our ‘Suspended Coffee’ credits until we ran out, and then we would just comp the meals. Instead, other customers came in and added to the Suspended Coffee credits… (we charge up a gift card to use for payments and put out chits for ideas, though we will comp any meal, beverage, or treat with the program)… we still have about $700 on the card because folks keep adding to it faster than it is used. It was so wonderful!
We now post out free meals for different groups (this Summer we will focus on families with kids home from school who are really missing the free breakfast/lunch programs) and keep it turning. The customers love that they can so simply keep the Love flowing and those who need the program can feel great about using it.
It’s a big win for all of us.
~Monica S. Downen
Monica’s Waterfront Bakery & Cafe, Silverdale, WA