Lynchburg coffee shop’s ‘Pay It Forward Board’ brews kindness during pandemic

People continue to give while facing inflation, supply chain issues

The Pay It Forward board helps people help others.

LYNCHBURG, Va.Mission House Coffee in Lynchburg is brewing love and care, especially during the pandemic.

Owner Tommy Clark says their “Pay It Forward” board allows customers to support one another.

“As a business, we can’t always just give away our product. That’s not a good business strategy; but we wanted a way to still show love, care, and acceptance to every person, including those who can’t afford our product,” said Clark.

You pay it forward by purchasing a drink or meal, which is put on a gift card the baristas hold onto. Then, you write a note who it’s for and pin it to the board.

When you find a message that applies to you, just rip it off the wall and redeem it at the counter.

Clark says they started the program in 2019 and raised more than $2,800 so far.

Even as they’re forced to raise prices due to inflation, supply chain issues, and minimum wage; people are still giving.

“Prices everywhere go up, including our own prices, just to maintain profit margin. Even with that, it’s still great to see the generosity of our community,” said Clark.

They often see tags for those serving the frontlines and for those battling emotions.

“It’s really cool to see the heart of what people are struggling with themselves, or maybe have overcome themselves, and saying, ‘I want to help someone else get through this as well,” said Clark.

Customer Tyler Cash says he’s posted to the board because he loves the idea.

“I think it helps others to, one, think of others; then recipients can be encouraged that people are thinking of them, that they don’t even know,” said Cash.

Serving a cup of kindness to pay it forward.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.