With the slogan “coffee people helping coffee people,” the virtual tip resource Go Fund Bean has swelled to include more than 200 coffee shops and counting as more coffee workers face under-employment, unemployment or lost hourly wages.
The website and database of mostly U.S. coffee shops was launched last week by Washington D.C.-based coffee professional Adam JacksonBey as it became clear that the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic would cause coffee shops nationwide to close or abruptly shift to strictly to-go models, thereby resulting in layoffs, furloughs and losses of available working hours. For working baristas, reductions in traffic typically result in reductions in tips.
“We just felt as though something like this was necessary,” JacksonBey recently told Daily Coffee News. “The ability to create a central resource that was easily shareable to raise as much awareness of these tip jars as possible seemed like the right thing to do.”
Created with support from fellow coffee people — freelance writer Valorie Clark, Oatly’s Bailey Arnold, and freelance marketer and writer Jenn Chen — Go Fund Bean is a web directory that lists coffee-related businesses that have started virtual tip jars and donation pages. Users can find cafes by state, with links to Venmo accounts, Paypal pages, GoFundMe pages or other direct payment or crowdfunding sites.
Though clearly a stop-gap measure, virtual tip jars do provide some direction for people wanting to support their own local shop or small businesses in general.
“Someone with the ability to give funds but no idea where to put them now has one place to go,” he said. “They can share with their friends and colleagues in similar positions, and other folks to donate to the virtual tip jar.”
With more submissions from coffee businesses coming in every day — including many single-location independents alongside larger regional and national coffee names — JacksonBey said it is impossible to gauge just how much additional money might be flowing into the 200+ businesses. As for what comes next, JacksonBey expressed the kind of uncertainty felt by many throughout the coffee industry as the pandemic continues to disrupt daily life.
“I have no idea what happens moving forward, because we as a country have no idea what happens moving forward,” he said. “Go help someone. Helping people is what I attempt to do in a crisis… Also, remember you’re someone, so helping yourself counts.”