FRANKS’ TAKE: St. Anne the Tart paying it forward; ‘I feel more hope than I’ve ever felt’

Megan Smith, owner of St. Anne the Tart coffee shop and bakery, already has a vision for when the coronavirus pandemic is over.

“When I was reflecting on it this week, I really think people are really taking inventory of their lives and taking stock of what’s going on,” Smith said.

If you’ve stepped in the St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood in Dayton, you’ve probably noticed the Do-Good Wall near the check-out with dozens of tags pinned. Customers are able to either pay it forward and purchase a drink for a stranger, or someone who might need a pick-me-up is able to take a tag to get a free drink or pastry.

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Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Smith said the heaviness and fear she expected to feel in the shop just isn’t there. More customers than ever have been paying forward to future strangers after life returns to what we remember as normal.

“We know especially as we open the doors again, once we’re through all this, everyone is going to be pretty strapped for cash,” Smith said. “So we want it to probably be a special section of Do-Good tags for the challenging time people are going to be going through.”

Someone paying it forward can choose something meaningful like “Free drink for someone having a bad day” or something as trivial as “Free pastry for someone wearing a blue shirt”.

“My favorite moment of this week was a woman that had come in with custom do good tags that she had designed herself,” said a St. Anne’s barista. “They all were decorated with hearts and rainbow dots and had cute coffee quotes to brighten others days. She then came to the register and bought 10 drip coffees to write on her do good tags. The dedication and the kindness of her action warmed my heart. “

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Mandates across the state are getting more strict about social distancing and staying home, but Smith said people are able to fill out Do-Good tags at and Smith's team will fill out and hang the tag at the shop.

“I think coming through this that’s what I really want,” Smith said. “It’s going to be a celebration of humanity.”

While giving the daily coronavirus update with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Sunday, Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Amy Acton had a similar perspective that I think we could all benefit from hearing right now.

“I feel more hope than I’ve ever felt,” Acton said. “I actually believe that life is not shutting us down, even though we’re being quiet now. Life seems like it’s shutting down but I feel life waking us up. … I just know it in my heart and soul. Please don’t feel like this is pulling us apart.”

Sarah Franks is a Dayton Daily News reporter who will be writing a daily column on what people can do during the coronavirus outbreak. Have an idea or know someone who is doing something amazing? Email her at or on Twitter @sarfranks.

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