Community generosity shines in the form of The Kindness Cart

Jake McIntosh, co-owner of The Stafford General Store with Kathryn Harrison from the NOW Business Group and Linda Scanlan from Madeleine Hicks Real Estate (also part of the NOW Business Group and a patron of the Kindness Cart initiative) at one of the Kindness Cart’s located at The Stafford General Store

Amid all the doom and gloom surrounding the coronavirus, it can be hard to keep a positive mindset. But thankfully, out of the chaos, have emerged many inspiring initiatives from within our community and ‘The Kindness Cart’ is just one of them.

The Kindness Cart is a community pantry whereby non-perishable goods have been donated by local businesses and community members for ANYONE in need. Locals doing it tough are welcome to take as much or as little from the pantry as they need at no charge. Items within each cart may include; food items, toiletries, pet food and other necessities. 

The idea was inspired by the plight of a few local people in the Stafford and Stafford Heights Community Facebook group. As the community began to feel the localised impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the group were seeing a lot of people finding themselves in the position of having to ask for help in order to put food on the table, sometimes for the first time in their lives. However, where there were sad stories of helplessness from within the Facebook group, there was an outpouring of support from other local people and businesses who wanted to help in any way that they could. Tegan Guthrie, founder of the Stafford and Stafford Heights Community group, said that the idea of the community pantry stemmed from local chappy Dan from Stafford State School. He shared an initiative his church was running –  a community pantry that members of the congregation kept stocked and available to anyone in need and suggested the Facebook community try and do something similar in Stafford.

‘I put a call out in the Facebook group for ideas and suggestions of how we could potentially facilitate this community pantry. Kathryn Harrison from the NOW Business Group then, not only suggested we house it at a local cafe, but went a step further and organised our first venue – Maple Cafe on Minimine Street, Stafford,’ explains Tegan .

The Kindness Cart at the Stafford General Store

From there, the Kindness Cart initiative was born. With support from the NOW Business Network and the Stafford and Stafford Heights Community Facebook group, further carts have been rolled out around the local area. Carts can now be found in three locations which include:- The Maple Cafe, Silky Oak Espresso, and The Stafford General Store (addresses listed at end of article). NOW Business Network members Pieta Royal, Sharon Knol  and Kathryn Harrison liaise with the cafe owners and keep tabs on how things are going. Furthermore,  this intiative goes one step further and there is also a coffee/sandwich tab at each cafe. Those in need can order a coffee or sandwich which is free of charge – just say ‘Aloha’ when ordering. 

Jake McIntosh, co-owner of The Stafford General Store, is delighted to be able to contribute to this community initiative. 

‘If you are experiencing hardship and are in need of a pick-me-up, simply say ‘Aloha’ to the barista when placing your coffee order. The coffee will be free, no questions asked,’ said Jake.

Customers are also welcome to pay it forward and contribute to the ‘Aloha’ coffee account or donate non-perishable dry goods to the Kindness Cart.

‘It is mind blowing to think that a simple post on a Facebook group a few months ago has grown into something like this in such a short time AND in the middle of a pandemic. It really goes to show just how much can be accomplished when we work together for the common good. I’m excited to see where the initiative goes in the future and what we can put together for Christmas!’ said Tegan.

Kindness Carts can be found in the following locations:

The Stafford General Store: 609 Stafford Rd, Stafford

Maple Cafe: 10 Minimine St, Stafford

Silky Oak Espresso: 48D Ainsdale St, Chermside West

If you would like to help support the Kindness Cart intiative, you can either contribute via the ‘pay it forward’ coffee tab or donate a non-perishable grocery items to one of the carts

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