Steve Crowley, 20, of Beverly, an occasional customer, said he is impressed by the idea and thinks it’s a great alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving plate.
“Eating organic can be really expensive, and many people can’t afford a Thanksgiving meal to begin with,” he said. “It’s great that there is a healthier organic option being offered for those people.”
According to Reid, the pay-it-forward system works out so that the café breaks even. About 50 percent of customers pay the suggested price, while 25 per cent get it for less or free and the other 25 percent pay extra. He estimates that between an email list, Facebook page and word of mouth, news about the Thanksgiving special reaches about 10,000 people. Judging by years past and by the café’s currently strong business, he expects a full house throughout the holiday.
The café’s employees are enthusiastic about the program as well. The team that works Thanksgiving Day is completely voluntary, meaning that no one is scheduled to work. Reid said employees choose to work that day because they want to serve the community.
Caroline Daugherty, 37, of Gloucester worked the Thanksgiving shift last year and will be working it again this year. She said she finds it encouraging that many people choose to pay-it-forward.
“It makes you believe more in humanity,” she said. “There are so many negative things in the world today, so to see that people still care and have each other’s backs — it makes you feel a great connection with everyone around you, especially on Thanksgiving.”