Paying it forward with coffee

Published 9:23 pm Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Paying it forward. Most of you have heard of someone paying for the person behind them in a drive-through line or something similar. Maybe it has happened to you or you have taken joy from doing it yourself and brightening someone’s day. Or maybe you just remember there was a movie by that name a while ago.

Well, I have been participating in an online healthy living support group — Elf4Health — for the past two weeks. Basically you get paired with a complete stranger who helps support you eating healthy and being active during the holidays. In addition, there are daily challenges — everything from trying a new workout to writing a hand-written letter to a friend. There is a Facebook group where people share ideas and support each other as well.

I participated in the group last year and really enjoyed it. This year, due to life getting in the way, I haven’t been quite as involved — until this week.

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Tuesday’s challenge was to pay it forward. It has been amazing to read what these ladies have been doing in the spirit of the day’s challenge. Everything from just buying someone a cup of coffee behind them in line at Starbucks to paying for an elderly woman’s groceries to adopting an entire family in need for the holidays.

I was inspired. I wanted to do something, but what? I have plans to help buy presents for a local child in need. It is always nice to do something like this — especially this time of year. But I had other ideas in mind. I even went through the Starbucks drive-through on the way into work. But in a weird coincidence, there was no one behind me for me to pay it forward.

On Elf4Health’s Facebook page, one of the people who started the holiday challenge mentioned she sent several of her friends across the country e-gift cards for a cup of coffee, spreading a little cheer in the cold, dreary weather.

That got me thinking. When I lived in North Carolina, I kept up with several different friends by meeting for coffee to catch up. The coffee was nice, but the conversation and friendship were so much better.

That is one thing I definitely miss being three hours away. So, I decided I would send them e-gift cards, too, so we could virtually have a cup of coffee together. I hope it brightened their days, and it certainly left me with some warm, fuzzy feelings.

I’d say that Tuesday’s challenge was a success.

If Suffolkians need a way to pay it forward, consider donating to the Suffolk News-Herald’s Cheer Fund. The Cheer Fund supports the local Toys For Tots and helps make Christmas brighter for many children in Suffolk.

To donate, send your check to 130 S. Saratoga St. or bring it by the Suffolk News-Herald at that address. For more information about the Cheer Fund, call 934-9616.