For the last year, Wicked Grounds has been offering "community coffees" (and other basic drinks) for free to anyone who asks.
If you'd like to pay it forward by contributing drinks to the program, you may do so at the cafe counter, or by using this link.
Here's the way we describe the program 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".
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.)
The project started the day after the 2018 election. Several of us were honestly in shock, and figuring out how to mobilize to support and protect our local community. Some baristas and patrons wrote signs of support and hung them throughout the cafe. (You can still find them on our political action wall near the bathroom.) We were desperate to think of more tangible means of support.
Azalea Pony (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.
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.
And everyone: we love you, ok?
Mir and the team at Wicked Grounds
Want to contribute to the support coffee program? Click here