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Suspended Coffees

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Program allows patrons to provide for others

By John Barnhart

Suspended Coffees is a “pay it forward program,” according to Catherine Eubank, who owns Joppy’s in Bedford.

    Joppy’s became, in January, the first Virginia location to participate in this national program.  There are now three in the commonwealth.
    According to Eubank, a customer can buy two coffees and “suspend” one. The idea of the coffee being “suspended” is that it has been paid for, but has not yet been delivered. This allows another person to come in, ask if there is anything suspended, and receive it.
    The idea of Suspended Coffees originated with coffee houses, but it can apply to anything that the participating food service business sells.
    “It’s also a bowl of soup, a loaf of bread, a whole dinner, whatever a person wants to donate,” Eubank said. She has also had a person from out of the area, who found Joppy’s on Suspended Coffees website at www.suspendedcoffees.com, send a cash donation to “suspend something.”
    The idea is that the person claiming the suspended item is somebody who can’t afford to pay for it. Eubank said this allows the person to sit down and enjoy something in a nice environment without people at other tables knowing this person can’t pay for what he has.
    Eubank said, when somebody buys a suspended item, her workers make an entry in a log indicating what was donated and the date. She said this provides a clear record. She said the first donated item was a croissant on Jan. 8.
    “We work with Bedford Christian Ministries,” Eubank said. “They bring folks over.” She added that people can also come over on their own.
    Eubank believes her partnership with Bedford Christian Ministries is the way to go. She feels that any restaurant participating in Suspended Coffees needs to find a partner like this.
    “I love this program, to see those people’s faces when they have their food,” Eubank commented.
    How did she first learn of Suspended Coffees?
    “I was waiting for pies to come out of the oven and it was really late,” she said.
    While she was waiting, she was “playing on Facebook.” That’s where she saw Suspended Coffees and contacted the organization. She exchanged e-mails with them and registered.
    Suspended Coffees is a new organization, marking its first birthday this month. According to its website, it was founded in March 2013 by John Sweeny, a native of Cork, Ireland. Its website states that it’s up to each participating coffee shop or restaurant to decide who can claim suspended items.
    “Each business will need to decide who they feel in need,” the website states.