Born from tragedy: discover the story behind Malta’s very own coffee shop with a heart
This little coffee shop in the south of Malta is being raved about for all the right reasons. Jacob’s Brew – Pay it Forward in the seaside town of Marsascala is a coffee shop like no other. But why is it so special? What makes it so different? Jacob’s Brew is a coffee shop with a heart.
Let's go back to the beginning. Who is Jacob? Locally known as Titanium Man, Jacob is a one-of-a-kind young man who has defied all the odds. Back in 2013, Jacob suffered a severe brain infection that lead him to have multiple brain surgeries. The doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of survival, but that did not stop Jacob. He sat for his O' levels shortly after his fourth and final surgery, where surgeons fitted a titanium plate to replace the missing skull bone due to the surgeries – he's Malta’s very own superhero!
Titanium Man / Facebook
Heading over to the café, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jacob’s mum, Sarah, who explained to me where the idea to open a coffee shop started from. “During Jacob’s recovery we would be invited all over the island to meet people for coffee. Jacob had just finished his O' levels and wanted to open a coffee shop. Instead of us going to them, they can come to us!”
So, what is this 'pay it forward' system? In any other coffee shop, you’d buy a hot cuppa, pay for it, and receive a receipt. But in this coffee shop, your receipt is stamped with the ‘pay it forward’ stamp, which you can pass on to someone who needs support or is passing through a difficult time. That person can use your stamped receipt and head over to Jacob’s Brew where they are offered a free pot of tea or coffee and support from the team members through the network Survivors Malta. In this way, you're carrying out a lovely act of kindness and helping Jacob’s Brew find others who need help!
Jacob's Brew - Pay It Forward / Facebook
So just by walking through the doors, you’ve automatically helped another family and you don’t even know it yet! “We’ve become a portal of support for other families, and now many know about us.” Sarah explains that she felt she needed to do more after Jacob’s illness. “Luckily, my son survived, and we could never be thankful enough. I truly believe there’s always a need to do more, and through our experience we can give back. People believe in what we’re doing and that’s what gives us the strength to continue.”
A percentage of revenue donated to Survivors Malta helps projects to be instigated, and Jacob’s Brew – Pay it forward is just one, with other projects also being run. Jacob’s Coffee Run was launched in January 2018, and is a project entrusted to the NGO Survivors Malta, through which volunteers deliver sandwiches and beverages to families in the waiting area at the Intensive Care Unit at Mater Dei. There is also the REUNITED Pet Cabin which will be on the grounds of Mater Dei, whereby patients can meet with their pet dogs in a serene designated area at the hospital.
Reunited Pet Cabin / Facebook
Jacob’s ultimate dream is to open a franchise and take it worldwide. But for now, this is a fantastic start! Head over to Jacob’s Brew to make a difference!