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Tokens of Giving help people in need

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A restaurateur, Holger Eiselt, has launched a new scheme to help people struggling after the massive economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through Tokens of Giving, patrons of the Buzz fast-food chain can now buy a token that entitles the bearer to an egg sandwich or a cup of coffee or tea.

“People can give the token to someone who may be standing outside the door looking for cash to buy food or a drink,” Mr Eiselt said.

And for every ten tokens purchased, Buzz will be handing out a free one.

“Doing well for the community is part of our mission and it has always been the intention for the token to be a non-proprietary drive for Take Five Ltd,” he said. “We are committed to donating a number of tokens ourself besides donating one token for every ten sold. We will either donate these tokens to charities or hand them directly to people in need.”

He said there are a lot of people short on funds now, even more so after the impact of the shutdown and coronavirus.

Tokens of Giving was the brainchild of Mr Eiselt's friend, Adam Barboza. Mr Barboza took part in the City of Hamilton's task force on homelessness this year, and is also director of corporate responsibility at Aspen Reinsurance.

“The problem of homelessness is pretty acute in the city,” Mr Barboza said. “There are people asking for money and things like that. You want to help out, but you don't want them to spend the money on alcohol or other things. I did some research and came up with a similar concept happening in the United Kingdom called a Billy chip.”

The Billy chip was created in England by the B A Hope Foundation, two years ago, to honour the legacy of Billy Abernethy-Hope, a 20-year-old ambulance driver from Bristol, who died while backpacking in Thailand.

When Mr Barboza heard about the Billy chip, he liked the concept. He found a company that made wooden chips that are environmentally friendly and got the project going.

“I came up with the design for the tokens and got them made and brought them in,” Mr Barboza said. “Holger and his team came up with the pricing and concept.”

Then the Covid-19 pandemic happened and put the project on pause.

With Bermuda opening up again, Tokens of Giving is in operation.

“It is exciting to see it finally getting off the ground,” Mr Barboza said.

“Hopefully, it is a good initiative and people will buy into it. You go into one of the Buzz outlets, Devil's Isle or Village Pantry, buy your meal and you have the ability to buy this token. You can give it to someone who can redeem it for something that helps them. That is the genesis of it there.”

He felt the pandemic had only heightened the need for Tokens of Giving.

“More people are going to be needy because they are out of jobs,” he said. “You also have people who have their jobs who understand they are very fortunate and they can give back to someone else who is less fortunate through a pay-it-forward gesture of kindness.

“I was wondering how can I do my little part to help people who aren't as fortunate as me. This is a little drop in the bucket to help them strive.”

Mr Eiselt said he and his staff are always looking out for what they can do to help the community.

A token for an egg sandwich is $8.30 and a token for a 12oz tea or a 16oz coffee is $3.

The tokens are purchasable and redeemable at all Buzz outlets except at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo.

Helping hand: Buzz patrons can now buy a token to help a person get something to eat or drink (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Buzz tokens: owner Holger Eiselt, left, and Adam Barboza (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published July 25, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 27, 2020 at 1:10 pm)

Tokens of Giving help people in need

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