By Jasmine Casey Lee（李可心）
Have you ever heard about “Suspended Meal”? If the answer is negative, you definitely know the worldwide famous charity shoe brand—TOMS.
When you buy a pair of TOMS shoes, you actually are paying twice the price. Because, with every pair you buy, TOMS donates another pair to the needs. They call it “One-for-one Concept.”
“Suspended Meals” are just likes it, people pay for a meals in advance, in order to provide those who request it later. The extra meal that people purchase is suspended, and the restaurant will mark down the sum of money and ‘suspend’ the additional meal for those who are in need.
This kind of charity movement has rose up in the recent years all around the world. For us, it seems to be a brand new concept, however, according to Hsueh Cherng-tay（薛承泰）, a professor of National Taiwan University of Society Department. “ Suspended Meal is not a new concept, instead, it has been in existence since ancient times. Frankly speaking the One-for-one concept is so called ‘helping each other.’ Just now, people are adding a retailer to the process.”
When it comes to “Can suspended meals really help the poor?” Professor Hsueh Cherng-tay mentioned it is difficult for shop owners to decide whom to give away the suspended meals.
Of course,“ Most of the people hope their Suspended Meal could only be given to the poor and the needs, those who are in need and requesting will be served. Besides, it is hard and inappropriate to judge one’s financial condition from their appearance. If there is a wealthy man whom forgets to bring his money and asks for a Suspended Meal, to some degree, he is counted as those who are in need,” said Professor Hsueh Cherng-tay.
To conclude, kindness can come in many forms, including a purchase of a Suspended Meal. Maybe we can’t control the benefit it brings, but it doesn’t means we should stop doing it, because we never know how that meal would end up. Sometimes it only satisfies someone’s need, but sometimes it provides a sense of belonging, and sometime it even changes one’s life.
Suspended Meal movement is now supported by hundreds of restaurants in Taiwan. People who are interested in the movement can go to Suspended Meal Facebook fan page or CCF organization（家扶基金會）website for all the information including how to join the project, and where the restaurants are located. Let’s make our next meal more than just a meal.