The Ripple Effect – Generosity can be contagious!

Many people are facing stark choices as a result of the current economic situation.

Do you pay the overdue ESB bill or put food on the table? Unfortunately some people have no choice but to skip meals just to keep the lights on.

The volunteer staff of the Fair Play Café in Ringsend started a conversation about what they should do with the cash generous customers were putting into their Tips Jar. They narrowed it down to three options; divide it equally and spend it as they choose, save up the tips money for a group weekend away or use the money to help local families who are seriously struggling to put food on the table. The café volunteers unanimously decided to use the money to help local families in need. As a result of this decision the café is in the process of approaching local businesses to see if they might consider partnering in this process by matching every €1 that is placed into the tips jar over a one month, three month or six month period.

Another aspect of this scheme is that the café is currently developing plastic loyalty cards for all of its customers to use as outlined on the front page of this issue of NewsFour. A selection of these cards will be credited with €10 that local families in need can use to buy meals in the café. The idea is that 100 of these cards will be produced at a time and these cards will then be distributed amongst local community agencies to pass on to help those in need. Because many of the regular customers will already be using these cards to collect their reward points and to put extra credit onto their cards, this means that there will not be any sense of stigma attached to anyone using these same cards with a pre-loaded €10 credit.

As the café does a very popular €5.00 lunchtime meal deal this means that €10 credit can purchase two full meals.

There is an old saying that goes, “Throw a stone into a pond and watch ripples spread out from the centre.” The stone in this context is the generosity of the café’s customers which caused a contagious ripple effect when the café volunteers decided to pass on their generosity to others in need. They feel certain that the ripples will continue to spread out!

By Joe Donnelly