COVID-19: Cleveland's Bay Breeze Cafe customers pay it forward to homeless during coronavirus pandemic

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Bay Breeze Cafe owner Jenny Tan with some of the food vouchers donated by cafe customers.

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Bay Breeze Cafe owner Jenny Tan with some of the food vouchers donated by cafe customers.

FOOD voucher donations to the homeless have skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to regulars at a Cleveland cafe.

A Pay It Forward initiative run by Bay Breeze Cafe in Cleveland, In-SYNC Youth Services and Night Ninjas sees cafe patrons buying $10 food and drink vouchers which are distributed to people in need.

Owner Jenny Tan said customers usually averaged about seven or eight vouchers per week but about 50 had been bought last week.

"Last week, many of our cafe regulars who were concerned on how we were coping at the moment all purchased vouchers for the homeless," she said.

"One of our lovely regulars alone bought 30 vouchers, $300 worth, another one $100 worth, and many others $50, $20 and $10.

"Such displays of generosity by these kind-hearted customers is such a joy to be part of during this difficult time."

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Ms Tan said even before the coronavirus pandemic, the vouchers had been a huge help to people doing it tough.

"We have heard many heartwarming stories where just a simple $10 voucher helped a person pick themselves up and seek help in all aspects of their lives."

The pandemic had shown the true spirit of the community, with customers banding together to keep the business afloat.

"We have been very encouraged and so touched by customers who have kept returning to support us as well as helping to promote our business to anyone they know as well as through social media."

Along with countless other cafes across the country, Bay Breeze Cafe has had to change the way it operates, introducing take home meals and an upcoming delivery service.

"We also offer to source basic items for customers who are unable to purchase them at supermarkets," Ms Tan said.