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Beloit coffee shop encourages people to “pay it forward” to the community

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BELOIT (WREX) — You've likely heard the phrase "pay it forward" before.

It's often used to urge acts of kindness for others without any gain for yourself.

A good hearted concept adopted by Blue Collar Coffee in Beloit.

The coffee spot opened its doors in the Gateway to Wisconsin about two years ago.

One of the novelties of the small chain is its pay it forward wall.

Anyone who comes in for a coffee will find some vintage time punch cards at the counter.

You can fill out a card to give a free coffee to someone, or anyone.

"We'll let people know if they buy a coffee, we'll tell them 'hey there's a coffee here for ya," Blue Collar Coffee supervisor Cheria Gillespie said.

It can be a friend, a coworker, or maybe a complete stranger.

However, in line with the hard work being done during the COVID-19 pandemic, anonymous cards for front line workers have become commonplace on the pay it forward wall.

"We have some for first responders. Some for nurses. It really shows the consideration people have for others," Gillespie said.

The chance to provide for others is something coffee drinkers love to admire as they come in to enjoy a cup of joe.

"I think it's great. It spreads happiness and good feeling and it's just a really nice thing to do," Rob Mawyer said.

"It's a useful reminder that we're not all as different and divided as we may like to emphasize and stress sometimes."

The best instance of the board at work is seeing someone take a card and immediately fill one out to take its place.

A chain reaction of kindness.

Gillespie saw such an instance recently from a healthcare worker who stopped in.

"A nurse came in and there was a card here waiting for her so I mentioned it and she paid it forward again for someone else," Gillespie said.

"Just seeing the joy on someones face when they don't have to pay for their coffee, it's a small thing but its a nice thing to see."

If you want to go grab some coffee and pay it forward to someone else, you can head to Blue Collar Coffee at 408 Pleasant Street in Beloit.

We are always looking for people making a positive impact in the stateline area.

If you or someone you know is doing inspiring work in our community, you can fill out a nomination form by click here or you can email

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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