“Campbelltown has already given me so much, so I wanted to give something back.”
Bar Centrale owner Sonya Moulang feels privileged to living a health, happy life in Campbelltown but she knows not everyone is so fortunate.
There are more than 500 people sleeping rough in Campbelltown every night, and Ms Moulang wanted to do her bit to help them out.
That’s why she launched her Pay It Forward initiative six months ago.
“So customers can come in and pay for an extra coffee when they buy their own,” Ms Moulang said.
“That money goes into a fund that is then used to provide vouchers to homeless people and those doing it tough in the area.
“They can come in and use the voucher for a coffee or meal.”
Ms Moulang was inspired by a similar initiative developed by Mama Lana’s Community Foundation in Penrith.
She came across the project before she had opened Bar Centrale and knew immediately it was something she wanted to emulate.
“I put it in my business plan right away so I could introduce Pay It Forward as soon as I started my own store,” the Minto resident said.
“So far we’ve sold more than 150 coffees and meals for Pay It Forward. There’s been a great response.”
Ms Moulang has partnered with the Nagle Centre and We Are Community to distribute the vouchers to homeless people.
“They are amazing organisations,” she said.
“The Nagle Centre helps connect people to services like this.
“We Are Community does night patrols to help feed, clothe and support people sleeping in the streets.”
Ms Moulang said about 60 vouchers had been redeemed so far.
She said their was no price limit on what the vouchers could redeem.
“A food voucher costs the customer $10, but when someone comes in and redeems that voucher, they can get a Big Brekkie for $17 or whatever they like,” she said.
“They can sit down and have a hot meal or get a coffee to go.”
Ms Moulang said it was humbling to see the gratitude on her diners’ faces.
“They are just so grateful,” she said.
“They obviously didn’t ask to be in the situation they’re in.
“A lot of us are so lucky and it we can give back it’s a bit of good karma.”
Ms Moulang hopes more and more people jump on board and Pay It Forward to help out Campbelltown’s homeless population.
“As long as I’m in business this initiative will continue.”