Give a “Café Pendiente” at Café Santa Ana

By Oswaldo Mejía

Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende have joined a program called “Café Pendiente,” a project of Italian origin that consists of paying in advance at participating establishments for coffee or food for homeless people in extreme poverty so that they can consume it for free. In San Miguel de Allende, now you can buy a Café Pendiente at Cafe Santa Ana, in La Biblioteca.

Everybody can participate in this initiative; you just need go to a restaurant or café exhibiting the Café Pendiente logo and make a contribution of any amount that might cover the cost of bread, a salad, a sandwich, lunch, tea, coffee or a complete breakfast for someone in need.

Taquerías, pizzerias, restaurants, taverns and cafes situated throughout Mexico City are already exhibiting the Café Pendiente logo on their windows, façades or doors; those who benefit from this project can go in and ask for their Café Pendiente.

Colonia del Valle, Coyoacán and the city center are the regions where the largest number of establishments have adopted this project. These sites represent a choice of food for 4,014 people living on the streets in Mexico City, according to a count registered in 2012 by the Institute of Social Assistance and Integration (IASIS).

It is easy to recognize those who have received this charity, sitting at tables away from those occupied by paying customers. At first, owners of eateries expressed dissatisfaction because they thought that the indigent diners would alienate other customers, but the acceptance of the movement has refuted such notions.

In Colonia Condesa, for example, there are restaurants where employees used to prohibit access to people begging on the streets or hawking their wares to customers. Through this initiative these places now welcome those indigents asking for hot soup, juice or bread.

This is a project based on solidarity and trust. It is best if the beneficiaries of the program can sit at a table, but some smaller spaces cannot accommodate them. However, they can serve coffee or a snack to go.

Each participating business is free to set its own rules and limitations so long as they are made clear to buyers and consumers. For instance, a café or platillo pendiente may have a more affordable price or will be distributed in a given time period, or a coupon will be given to those  who buy so they can give it to whomever they wish.

At Café Santa Ana, the purchaser will be given a coupon to pass along to whomever he wishes. For each café “pendiente” you will pay 5 pesos less than the regular price, and for each dish “pendiente” you will pay 10 pesos less.


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