HELP OUT: Mary Drum of Caperberry Cafe says businesses need to come together to
HELP OUT: Mary Drum of Caperberry Cafe says businesses need to come together to "pay it forward" and support those who need it. Adam Hourigan

Cafe owner calls on community to help less fortunate

CAPERBERRY Cafe owner Mary Drum has always supported people in the community who need it.

The Yamba cafe has a reputation for being a charitable institution, at times giving coffee, cold drinks or food to people who can't afford it. But now Mrs Drum believes it is time for the problem to be combated on a larger scale; it is time to join forces.

"This issue is bigger than any one cafe," Mrs Drum said. "This is a community issue, it is a growing issue. But the generosity is there and if it is easily acceptable to people, that is a quick way and a good way to get support for people.

"A few customers have said 'if you did this we would buy an extra coffee most days'. One loyal customer said 'you really need to do this' then he reached into his pocket and pulled out $100 and said there is your first $100 to get you started.

"There are all sorts of people who need some support and help and community spirit."

Despite there being a number of cafes in the Clarence Valley already on board with their own pay-it-forward systems, including Grafton Hospital shop where the system has been in place for several years, Mrs Drum wants to move toward a joint effort.

"What would be great is if council or a not-for-profit organisation could take hold of the idea and organise it throughout the Valley with a number of participating cafes," she said.

"That way anyone could walk into a participating café to donate a coffee or utilise an already donated one.

"I believe in the Valley because we are a smaller population a lot of our most needy are hidden and they are not all at the one location.

"I think this scheme would be a better way to support the entire community. Maybe there is some sort of symbol that we could display. Can we become an identified pay it forward outlet? Those are the questions that should be asked."

Grafton Hospital shop owner Marie Howe said she liked the idea but was unsure of the logistics.

"This is a fantastic idea, it is really the community supporting the community," she said. "The idea of pay it forward is more of a community thing, the businesses involved are simply facilitating it.

"I just want to know how this idea would work in a logistical sense.

"It would probably need a third party involvement but however it does work the Grafton Hospital shop would love to be involved.

"We are proof that pay it forward does work."

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