For the last year, Wicked Grounds has been offering "community coffees" (and other basic drinks) for free to anyone who asks.
Here's the way we describe it on Facebook:
Queer & Trans & Kinky folks who need coffee in a safe space - Wicked Grounds currently has dozens of pre-paid coffees or herbal teas available to you, absolutely free, just for the asking. Just ask for a "Support Coffee".
Several of our customers have already bought you coffee, so that everyone can afford a quality beverage in a welcoming environment.
Whether you want to come in to rabble-rouse for the queer revolution, attend one of our events, or just need a space to hang out, please do not hesitate to come in and ask for a "support coffee" or tea. This is good as long as supplies last. (Given the generosity of our community so far, we expect to have these available for the long term.)
Azalea Pony (whose Patreon you can check out here, and who later became the 2017 Ms SF Leather) said they wished there was a way to buy free coffee for folks who might need a safe space but couldn't afford it. As Mir struggled to figure out how that would work, Azalea and our friendly espresso robot hashed out details on a simple way to ring up and track the drinks. The first seven "support coffees" were added to our whiteboard wall with little hearts, and the movement was started.
Word got out quickly, locally and around the country. Wicked Grounds customers started buying pre-paid drinks for the wall in person, via PayPal from Texas and Oregon, and even by grabbing us in the hallways at the Dark Odyssey conference the following weekend. The wall began to fill with so many pre-paid drinks, we couldn't imagine giving them all out.
That changed quickly. Over the last year, we've given out literally hundreds of drinks through the generous support of our customers.
Many are to regular customers from the LGBTQ/ kink communities who are having a rough week or just struggle to make ends meet in the difficult SF economy. Many more are to our local SOMA neighbors who are homeless or housing insecure and just need a hot or cold beverage to get through the day.
The support coffees allowed us -- quite unexpectedly -- to participate in a Bay Area general strike on January 20th, 2017. As you may already know, Wicked Grounds has a policy to stay open every day of the year to ensure that our community always has a welcoming environment to be with friends and chosen family. The general strike posed a challenge: how to stay open and closed at the same time? The support coffees made it possible. Our owner, cafe manager and previous owner volunteered to serve just support drinks all day -- no money exchanged, no staff scheduled, but we met our mission to keep the doors open throughout a day when many really needed the space.
As we come up on the first anniversary, we want to give a huge shout out to everyone who made this possible -- to Azalea for the idea, to the baristas who created the system, to the community who bought and consumed the drinks, to the Trans and Queer Bay Area Free Pile group which allows the local community to share resources, and everyone else who has made this small gesture of support possible.
In honor of our first anniversary, we will donate one support coffee for each and every Patreon subscriber at the end of November. If you're already a subscriber, thank you. If you are not yet a subscriber, consider joining now to make your support even more valuable to the broader community.
And everyone: we love you, ok?
Mir and the team at Wicked Grounds
PS: Do you want to contribute more drinks to the support wall? You can help by either asking your friendly barista to ring up a community support drink on site, through our online store, or sending funds by PayPal to Mir@WickedGrounds.com with a note specifying that they are for community support coffees. (Each coffee is $3.05.)
PPS: This post was made possible by the magic of Patreon. Want to support the kinky, queer revolution? Join us there!