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A new type of charity comes to cork via facebook

Wednesday, 3rd April, 2013 3:21pm

An italian coffee culture trend has crept into Cork overnight thanks to a Facebook post that captured the hearts of hundreds and thousands of people across the globe creating online unity and support for a good cause.

Suspended coffee is an idea that first originated in Naples, Italy and was made Facebook famous through likes and shares across the online community. The idea is for people to pay for two coffees in a coffee shop and leave one behind for someone who can't afford it, and will later call to the counter in search of suspended coffee.

Fermoy plumber John Sweeney decided to take the power of the Internet to the next level by creating a Facebook page dedicated to the original post of the story of suspended coffee and introducing it to Ireland.

Overnight this page had hundreds of followers and within a week over 30,000 people had shown their approval for the generous initiative.

“I read the post like everyone else and I thought it was a great idea,” John said, “So I set up a page and my friend Stephen set up a page too. They both got a great response, Stephen has about 19,000 likes so we are looking at merging them it's a bit stupid having two!”

Another person who set up a Suspended Coffee page is Aoife Ryan, a tutor in a special school in Dublin. Aoife set up a Suspended Coffee Ireland page and has gotten ten cafes on board to put the suspended coffee project into practise, including one Cork café, Café Idaho.

“I heard about it on Twitter and I thought it was an absolutely amazing idea. It's win win all round,” Richard Jacob, Co-owner of Café Idaho said. “We started running it on Tuesday and straight away our customers were trying to buy suspended coffees!

“It can be a tricky thing to do, but we have decided to make all suspended coffee takeaway. All our takeaway coffees are two euro so it gets rid of all the hassle of pricing a macchiato, espresso, cappuccino or latte because all takeaways are two euro.”

Mr Jacob said the system still needs a bit of tweaking but as far as he is concerned it is a brilliant idea that will last.

“There are a few things to sort out like how to let people know we have suspended coffees available so they are not asking and getting embarrassed if there are none.

“Also we are aware the system is open to exploitation from people who can well afford a coffee asking for a free one but I think that will all iron out with time, we will cop on to who is really deserving a coffee and who is just trying their luck.”

Mr Sweeney, who set up the original Facebook page is currently working on setting up a website for the movement and has been in contact with the Cork Simon Community to set up a donation scheme between participating cafes and local charities.

“I am just hoping to set up a scheme where extra coffees that are not used up are donated back to local charities. I   just think this is a great good will gesture and has the potential to give back to society.”

Paul Sheehan from Cork Simon Community said anything that supports the people on the street is worth supporting. “I think it is very easy to forget about the homeless and those on the streets and this can really raise awareness for their cause.

"I think anyone who would donate an extra coffee has their mind and heart in the right place.”

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