Harpenden café ‘pays it forward’ with free donation scheme

The cafe in Harpenden has a kindness scheme which many people are taking part in. Picture: Supplied

The cafe in Harpenden has a kindness scheme which many people are taking part in. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A Harpenden café has proven to be at the heart of the local community during the dark days of the pandemic.

TKs on Southdown Road has developed its own kindness scheme born out of grassroots generosity.

The initiative kicked off in half term when staff prepared 68 free packed lunches for children who receive free school meals.

As a result of all the donations received, the café staff are now making up hampers for some older adults and vulnerable people.

Following on from this initiative, they have now launched a new scheme encouraging people to “pay forward” gifts of food and drink.

Customers purchase items from the menu and then stick Post-It notes to a fridge in the café offering the chance for others to have the goods without paying.

The hope is that people who benefit from the scheme will then add their own Post-It when they are in a better position.

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Owner Clare Boothby said: “I want people to know what it is about. It’s not about a less-fortunate thing, or a money thing, it is a community thing. What you put in you can get out at a later point.

“People can use it for a variety of reasons. You could have a mum who has popped out and forgotten her purse for example.

“One of our regulars comes in every week for a bacon roll and a coffee and this morning it was on the house. He was really touched.”

The former nurse said free school meals campaigner and Premier League footballer Marcus Rashford retweeted their Tweet showing a photo of the fridge.

Mum-of-three Karina Barnicoat received the packed lunches during October half term.

“My children really looked forward to it. They had fruit, drink, a sandwich of their choice, crisps, chocolate and a biscuit. In return they took artwork to cheer customers up which was a nice feel-good gesture.

“I would like to say thank you to the staff at TKs. I will definitely use the fridge Post-Its scheme to help other people.”

The café is open from 7am-3pm Monday to Saturday.