My wife and I have been volunteering our time for ‘Street Ministry’ work through the Salvation Army. This entails helping to provide hot food, warm clothing and a friendly ear to the many homeless and less fortunate people in Edmonton every Friday evening. After our shift on the streets has come to a close on a Friday night, we gather as a team and grab a coffee at a nearby McDonalds. I started to save the little stickers on the side of my coffee cup and attach them to the loyalty card provided. As soon as you collect a full card of seven stickers you can redeem it for a free medium coffee. Great marketing, I thought. But then I had an idea, what if I saved these and gave them to a homeless person I meet on the street so they can escape from the cold, sit somewhere warm and enjoy a hot beverage of their choice. (With free refills!)
It wasn’t long before I filled my first card. It sat in my wallet for a while until one day I was in Calgary on business, it was early morning and I was walking back to my hotel after grabbing a coffee for myself. I met this old man pushing a shopping cart full of bottles. He looked cold so I asked him if he would like a coffee, he looked at me and his face lit up as I handed him the card. “Thank-you very much!” he said, and went on to tell me how he gets up every morning at 4:30am to come downtown to collect the bottles from behind all the bars and restaurants. This was the start of my coffee card collecting! I was determined to collect as many as possible, I told a few friends about it and they now save their cards and give them to me when they are full. A good friend of mine handed me a bundle and I carry them with me in my jacket pocket and give them out regularly to homeless people on a Friday evening or any other time our paths may cross.
If you are in Edmonton and have any completed McDonalds coffee cards you would like to donate, let me know, I can put them to good use.