September 29th was National Coffee Day. Are you a coffee drinker? I am not a coffee drinker, but I Love the smell of coffee, it is so welcoming. A hot cup of coffee on a cold day warms your hands and heart. Offering a cup of coffee is a sign of hospitality. To the homeless a cup of hot coffee can be a sign of hope. At Open Door Mission the coffee is always on! At the Garland Thompson Men’s Center coffee is available to anyone needing a hot beverage or a quick pick-me-up.
Coffee and homelessness have a history that is intertwined. Many a homeless shelter started out giving out hot coffee and doughnuts (if available) to those on the streets. As the need to serve grew the shelters offered meals along with the coffee. Coffee shops are usually open early and close late or are open 24 hours, so they became a place to “come in from the weather”. Coffee (plain) was fairly inexpensive and a cup could be “nursed” for a period of time, giving shelter and sustenance. Many coffee shops have reached out in compassion and kindness, offering the homeless free coffee. Some offer a plan where customers can “pay it forward” and donate cups of coffee (some even include food). So next time you have a cup of coffee say a prayer for the homeless. Consider buying a homeless person a cup of coffee, you can even share conversation over that cup of coffee.