An Indiana coffee shop rewards customers' acts of kindness with free coffee
Café Fresco's owner has come up with a way to pay forward good deeds in her community.
Café Fresco is located in the heart of Crown Point, Indiana, right across the street from the city's courthouse. For many, the café and its owner Breanne Zolfo really are the heart of the community. That's because Zolfo has come up with her own way to spread love and kindness by doing good in the community.
Zolfo opened the café six years ago when the building in which it is housed went up for sale. At about the same time, she found a coffee shop that was going out of business and bought the equipment. Zolfo, a former nanny, didn't know much about the coffee business, but she knew she wanted a warm community space.
Almost immediately, Zolfo started writing inspirational messages on random coffee cup sleeves as a way to make a positive impact in the lives of her customers, according to CBS News. They said, "Believe there is good in the world," "Be the Good," "Let your light shine," and many many more moving sayings.
"There are people who go through their whole day, who don’t have anything positive or inspirational in their day," Zolfo told Today Food. "To be a small part of that is really cool."
The customers reactions were really positive, and they started requesting quotes if their coffee sleeve didn't have one. Now, Zolfo and her staff write 200 positive messages a day.
Around three years ago, Zolfo began writing good deeds that people could do in the inside of the sleeves. This included acts of kindness like putting money in the Salvation Army kettle, buying a cup of coffee or food for someone, and donating clothing to the homeless.
She encouraged her customers to do these acts of kindness by rewarding them with a cup of coffee if they returned the sleeve and told her about the kind act. Customers have taken it even further and return with a photo or video of them doing the good deed.
"The customers love it, Zolfo told Today. "They feel they're doing their small part too. They see the outcome. They see they can change people's lives." Zolfo estimates that she has given away at least a thousand cups of coffee.
But Café Fresco does even more for the Crown Point community. All the money collected in the café's tip jar goes to do good deeds in the community. One day, Zolfo used the tip jar money to pay for shopper's groceries in a nearby supermarket.
"We had this one person that was homeless, and we had bought a bike for him. And he came back two years later after we had purchased the bike for him, and he said, 'You don't know how much you've changed my life. Like, because you bought me a bike, I got a job, and I got an apartment.' And see, even talking about him makes me cry," Zolfo told CBS News.
Zolfo believes she got the ball rolling in Crown Point and that people are now spreading the mission of do-gooding to other cities and other states. She hopes to someday get a Community Love bus and drive around surprising people with good deeds, but for now, she is content to just give back to her community and to make a difference in people's lives.