Since the very beginning of Cup From Above we’ve been a haven for those are in need. Somehow, before anyone knew about us, people in need would mysteriously find their way to our little half finished cafe hidden along the main road in Aspley.
Cup From Above was the first cafe in Australia to kick off suspended coffees. People in need came from everywhere and this became a powerful way to connect with those in need. We were giving away food, even hampers to feed entire families, but it became too much for us so we created Tucker Tokens.
“Tucker Tokens” work just the same as Suspended Coffees but with a small meal. These are $5 each. (7 of these are occasionally grouped together to give away a small parcel of non-perishable food worth at least $35 or more and given away to people in need).
Through the generosity of our community Tucker Tokens we’ve fed homeless pregnant women, entire homeless families living out of a car, mentally ill men sleeping rough under buildings. We give away on average 50 to 100 meals per week now.
We’re also currently fundraising for a commercial kitchen so that we can prepare and give away healthy nutritious meals. Find out more about that here.
If you would like to purchase some Tucker Tokens online please click here.
Last year Cup From Above CEO Adam James and Cafe Chaplain Luke Schubert voluntarily went homeless for a week to discover what is truly like. During that week it became apparent that the vast majority of the free food services for homeless people were found in the city. However homeless people are not welcome in the city and are treated particularly poorly. It is actually illegal in our city to beg for food (even if you’re actually just hungry). We probably need to adjust this abhorrent law but the answer is more complex, but more beautiful, than changing legislation. Like all great things it means that we must change.
If every cafe and food outlet in South East Qld offered “Tucker Tokens” to people who are hungry no one will ever need to beg for food in Brisbane ever again. This creates an honourable way that they can just receive a gift that us as a community have already set aside for them.
If homeless people could access free food wherever they are it would decentralise the untenable concentration of homeless people in the city.
If 1000’s of cafes offered this then it would not be a burden on one (which my team knows from personal experience).
There’s something bigger going on here that may not be obvious. The real issue isn’t food: it’s connection. Housing alone is not the solution for the homeless. We don’t call them houseless. You see the difference between a house and a home is the relationships inside. With a few great relationships a tent can be a warmer home than a cold loveless house. Pretty much everyone that is homeless and hungry has access to benefits via centrelink or some charity. So what’s the difference? It’s their relationships. It’s not that their disconnected because of their situation. Their disconnection means that they don’t love themselves enough to care about their situation. This is a scary paradigm shift because if we believe that the obligation is on them to independently educate and elevate themselves to our standard. When we understand that it’s about poor relationships and that the people who should’ve loved them didn’t then the opportunity for their liberation falls to us. We each have the opportunity, every day, to reach out love and connect with these people. It’s about more than coffee or food. It’s the real conversation that you have while sharing the meal with them. This is what transforms lives and communities.