Make Your Coffee Count 'Kindness coffees' Launched in Manly for Rough Sleepers and Those in Need

James Griffin MP is calling for support of a new initiative launched by a group of Manly locals called Kindness Coffees, which gives customers of participating cafes a way to prepay a coffee for someone who is a rough sleeper, having a rough day, or otherwise in need.

The project aims to inject a small moment of kindness into the day of Australia’s 116,000 homeless population, many of whom gravitate to beaches like Manly to use amenities like showers and toilets, and attend weekly soup kitchens such as those held in The Corso and Gilbert Park.

Prepaid coffees will also be available to anyone who is unemployed or otherwise struggling - particularly in the wake of COVID-19 stress, which saw mental health issues significantly increase.

It’s an idea that has already been rolled out on an ad hoc basis at various local and overseas cafes, however the Kindness Coffees team wanted to entice multiple cafes to get on board quickly and easily through a standardised and simple process. 

The group aims to expand the project to include other Northern Beaches suburbs, for venues to eventually extend it to prepaid meals, and for the process to be replicable by other groups in other regions, such as Sydney’s Inner West or the Western suburbs.

The initiative will use a ticketing or tally system, and will help support local small businesses by helping to lift coffee sales from patrons who might otherwise have purchased only one coffee for themselves.

Community Northern Beaches, a not-for-profit organisation supporting those in need on the Northern Beaches, will also help to create awareness with the local homeless community.

The project is currently being successfully trialled at Manly’s Little Shop of Waffles and Sprout Espresso & Sandwiches, however the group is also encouraging other Northern Beaches cafes to join in too.

It complements the work of Mr. Griffin’s ‘Back Your Local’ social media campaign, which aimed to connect locals with small business operators in the Manly area to help keep businesses running in the time of COVID-19.

James Griffin MP, says: “We see Kindness Coffees as a continuation of our ‘Back Your Local’ campaign because it will also help to increase revenue for local businesses who have had a challenging year. But on top of this, it will also help to provide a moment of kindness for those who are doing it tough while increasing community spirit and togetherness.

“This initiative demonstrates all that is good about our community. I’m so grateful to the founders of Kindness Coffees for getting this up and running.”

Sam McCourt, founding member of Kindness Coffees, says: “When people think of Manly or the Northern Beaches, they often think it is exclusively an affluent area. What many are unaware of is that we actually have quite a large and growing homeless population that both resides here and also travels in regularly, due to the amenities, availability of meals from soup kitchens, and accessibility via the ferries.

“We simply wanted to inject a small amount of kindness into the lives of anyone going through a rough time during Covid and beyond. Our commitment at all stages of Kindness Coffees is to employ a process that benefits and uplifts all involved, maintains the dignity of those receiving the acts of kindness, and builds a sense of collective care and empathy within our community.”

Irene Zalami, co-owner of Little Shop of Waffles, says: “We are delighted to be able to support this worthy initiative, and so grateful to the founding members for launching such a valuable program. In the month we have supported Kindness Coffees, we’ve already witnessed the deep generosity of the local community firsthand, with over 40 Kindness Coffees already donated!”

Daiki Tanaka, owner of Sprout Espresso & Sandwiches, says: “I feel I owe it to this beautiful community to give back. Since I arrived in Manly from Japan 10 years ago, the Manly community has given me so many valuable things - opportunities, families, friends, and business. Without their support and kindness, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I also wanted to get involved in Kindness Coffees to better understand how many homeless people, and those otherwise in need, there are in our community. 

“I know some might think there are bigger ways to help the homeless community, but I believe there is great value in small gestures of kindness and care - and we are all able to offer small moments of this every single day. I thank our customers for getting so involved already.”

Kindness Coffees is actively looking for Northern Beaches cafes to join the waiting list of participating venues.

About Kindness Coffees

Kindness Coffees provides a way for cafe patrons to prepay a coffee with love and dignity for vulnerable and homeless people in the Manly and Northern Beaches community. The project sits within a broader local Facebook group called #ViralKindness Northern Beaches, which was set up in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Since then, it has evolved to provide assistance and support to those in the Northern Beaches community who are suffering hardship and are in need of a little kindness or care. This might be through the provision of food and meals, grocery hampers and other goods, sharing opportunities for volunteering and charity work, or simply connecting those in need with someone to call or drop in and check in on them.