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April 21, 2021

Darts and laurels: Paying it forward a cup at a time

Laurels to Evelyn Medina and her customers at Mean Mug coffee shop who are making sure no one who wants a hot cup of coffee goes without for lack of money. Medina’s “pay it forward” program is a continuation of a movement started in Italy after World War II. It began at Mean Mug when she saw a woman standing outside her South Fulton Street shop asking for money to buy a cup of coffee. She gave the woman a cup, and now her customers are doing the same. A customer can buy a “pending coffee” for someone he or she may never know, but whom they know will appreciate it. Each pending coffee is represented by a medallion hanging at the front door, ready to be redeemed and enjoyed. Medina says the response has been “amazing.” A cup of coffee is a simple thing, and one that most of us take for granted daily. But in the colder months to come, it’s something that can warm the belly of a person in need, and can also — with the knowledge that someone else cared enough to provide it — warm the heart.

•••

Better late than never, they say, so laurels to the North Carolina General Assembly for finally approving a two-year state budget. Since both legislative chambers and the governor’s mansion are controlled by Republicans, it did seem a bit odd that state leaders took so long to come up with a spending plan that was technically due July 1. In the meantime, they did agree on some things: three continuing resolutions to keep state government operating at last fiscal year’s levels — while teacher assistants paid under that budget hung in limbo not knowing if their jobs would be eliminated in this one — and to spending about $2 million to keep legislators in Raleigh and all the associated wheels turning while they negotiated back and forth. Just think what might have happened had they been forced to reach an agreement with another party. Again, better late than never.

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