Sudbury

Sudbury coffee shop encourages customers to help others

Coffee with milk, sugar and a little extra love: a coffee shop in downtown Sudbury is hoping patrons will "pay it forward" to help strangers who need a boost.

'Suspended coffee' program lets patrons help buy a cup or a bite for a stranger

Jasmine Serré and her mother Betty-Anne Serré stand in their family run business, Kuppajo Espresso Bar. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

Coffee with milk, sugar and a little extra love: a coffee shop in downtown Sudbury is hoping patrons will "pay it forward" to help strangers who need a boost. 

Kuppajo Espresso Bar now has a "suspended coffee fund". When making a purchase, customers can choose to donate a little extra, and the money will go toward buying coffee and food for those in need.

Jasmine Serré helps run the family business on Larch Street. She said her mom, owner Betty-Anne Serré, has encouraged staff to help others since the shop opened this year.

"She's always taught us to be there for those people," she said. "All of our staff members are aware of that as well."

'Having a rough week'

Serré said there's no particular criteria to decide who's in need. She said staff at the shop get to know their customers and learn a lot through conversations with them.

"We've had people come in here [who are] having a rough week," she said. "Either they've lost somebody close to them or they lost a job. They're having a terrible week. We've offered a coffee to that person."

Serré said a small gesture, such as a free cup of coffee or a little something to eat, can go a long way.

"People are very surprised [and] they're a little hesitant," she said. "I guess it doesn't happen very often."

The campaign to have customers donate to the fund has just started, but Serré said customers are already looking to help.

"What's nice, is [the donations] are staying in Sudbury," she said. "This money is going back to people who live in our community."

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