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Kindness board helps pay it forward in Centre Co.

By: Lauren Hensley

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.-- It is a trend sweeping through cafes and coffee shops around the nation. The concept is simple -- a customer pays for coffee or food in advance for someone who could not afford to pay for it themselves. The movement began in Italy; now it has crossed the pond over here to the States and it is gaining steam as people are spreading cups of warm cheer.

In most places it is called ordering a suspended coffee but one Centre County caf is calling it the kindness board and it is offering more than just java.
At Webster's Caf in downtown State College, kindness takes the form of a bulletin board. 42 tiny pins tacked onto a board read "coffee, soup, salad or pie."

One customer in line places an order for a coffee, but he is not purchasing it for himself; instead he is purchasing a cup for another person who comes in and cannot afford to buy the cup themselves.

The long and short of it is, people will either purchase soup, sandwiches or whatever they would like to pass along to someone else in an act of kindness, said Elaine Meder-Wilgus, owner of Websters Caf.

The kindness board started at Webster's Cafe in mid-January. Meder-Wilgus said so many customers were willing to purchase menu items, she ran out of tacks. Empty spaces on the board represent items that have been claimed by those who need them.

I know I have one gentleman who has used it because he gets his social security check at the end of the month and he's a little short, you know, because he is on a fixed income, and I know it makes a big difference to him, Meder-Wilgus said.

It may be a single parent, it might be a professionally dressed person trying to find a job, it could be a struggling student; but this is more than just a snazzy latte, its-- it's kindness in cup. That's why Nate Cutshall made an extra purchase

I don't know, maybe they will feel happy that someone paid forward some kindness, and some people have done that for me, too, Cutshall said.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times