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Samaritans Offer The Gift Of Coffee

A single act of charity has taken on a life of its own, as members of the community look to do at least one little thing for homeless residents on the Greenfield Common.

Two employees at Greenfield Coffee said that since word of the “Common Coffee Card” has gotten around, both sales and the charity of customers has increased.

Head barista Nick Paar said after a Greenfield Recorder article appeared about how the homeless encampment has impacted downtown businesses, “a lot of people heard about the card and started loading up the card” with more money for the homeless.

The encampment has drawn attention from many residents and city officials. Some people have voiced concern over the people camping on the common and how it may harm the reputation of downtown Greenfield but others have worked to help the homeless residents on the Greenfield Common.

Donations of items including tents, supplies and food have been given to the homeless residents since they moved onto the common more than a month ago. Among those donations was also a “Common coffee card” that was started by one of the regulars at Greenfield Coffee, Paar said.

The card is kept behind the counter and when a homeless resident comes in, they can ask to use the card for items like coffee or other drinks.

Paar said several customers were donating $5 to $10 for the card and by Wednesday about $100 was on it. Paar estimated that about $200 has been put on the card since it started.

Ben Socolofsky, also a barista at Greenfield Coffee, said once customers heard about the card “it was like a chain reaction,” with some customers putting money on it because they saw the person in front of them do it.

And according to Socolofsky, word spread to those on the common about the card, both by him telling the residents and the Recorder article. Now the homeless folks have increased their usage of the card. Paar said Wednesday afternoon that the total on the card was down to $18 from Tuesday.

The impact was more than charity, though, as both Paar and Socolofsky said the situation has led to increased sales for Greenfield Coffee.

“It’s actually making us money,” Socolofsky said.

“Flat out making us money,” Paar added. “It’s both socialist and capitalist.”


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