Instead of just buying coffee at a local gas station and going on with your day, the Inter Gen Coalition is trying to bridge the generations by holding a weekly coffee chat open to everyone in the Kennett Square community.
Held every Thursday at The Market from 11 a.m. to noon, the chat, called the Community Coffee Klatch, has attracted about 15 to 18 people in each of the three weeks it has gone on so far,
“It’s a great assortment of people,” said Joan Holliday, a co-chair of the Inter Gen Coalition. “This last time, two mothers who do home schooling came to introduce them to the community and there were also seniors there.”
What makes the event so unique is the ability to attract such a wide age range to give the conversations a broad variety of topics.
For example, recently a lady who used to own a furniture business in the area and a long-time resident was in attendance and was able to tell those gathered some of the history of Kennett Square.
“Another older woman told her story about how she’s marrying her high school sweetheart,” Holliday said. “Her husband had died and his wife had died and now they’re getting married in their late 80s.”
The Community Coffee Klatch is free to anyone who wishes to come out and no topic is off limits.
“We’re really trying to keep it open-ended,” Holliday said. “Last time, we talked about the Underground Railroad and a lot of people don’t know the history. People who have more knowledge can share it. There is a lot of town discussion, too.”
The Inter Gen Coalition, which started about four years ago, is trying to keep the generations talking and supporting each other, which is how the Community Coffee Klatch came about.
The focus of the coalition in the beginning was to focus on the senior citizens to make sure they stuck around after retiring.
“We wanted to encourage them to stay in town and we’re still working on that promotion,” Holliday said.
The coalition holds meetings to brainstorm ideas and that’s where the Community Coffee Klatch came into existence.
“What’s a natural way to get people together without making it so problemantic?” Holliday said. “(The Market) is an easy place to meet. It’s a place that doesn’t have the identity of the seniors or the youth. This has a neutrality and community sense to it.”
The coffee, which is made by Nourish Juice Bar, is currently payed for by the owners because it’s also a way to bring people into The Market.
Right now, the chats are still small, but the Coalition is hoping through word of mouth and social media, it will spread and bring in more residents each time.
“It’s going to be like everything else in Kennett - a very peaceful, gentle process and all of the sudden, more and more people find out about it,” Holliday said. “Every week, we don’t know who is going to be there.”
Some of those who have stopped in have varied from environmentalists to John Sanville, the superintendent at the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District.
The Community Coffee Klatch is a prime example of how the Kennett Square community continues to grow in all areas, but finds a way to stay close-knit through it all.
“It was always a small town,” Holliday said. “The pride of it being - and we’ve used this term for about 18 years now - a peaceful, progressive and inclusive town. We’re always being introduced to something new and we just gently, gradually take it in. The more we take in, the more we know we’re an inclusive community.
“There’s a pride in that. There’s more interest, there’s more color and there’s more vibrancy when you have diversity.”