By Michelle Hines
SPiN Café saw another year of tremendous growth in 2022. This is both good news and challenging. The good news is that our community, including our supporters, community churches and funders, has become more and more involved with SPiN Café. The challenge is that we are seeing increasing numbers of homeless and low-income (working poor) individuals in our community.
Here are our guest numbers for the past three years:
Our guest count at the Day Center increased from 4,614 in 2021 to 7,289 in 2022, an increase of 57%. We served 6,245 lunches, with your help, in 2020, 7,753 in 2021 and 7,901 in 2022. Thanks to an ARPA grant from Island County, we were able to provide 4,362 dinners not only to our homeless guests, but also to members of our community. In March when we started our dinner service we were serving an average of 24 dinners each night. In December we averaged 49 each night. We serve dinner 3-5 nights a week.
The sad fact is that homelessness is increasing in our community. There are many reasons for this increase: mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, choices in life that have led to homelessness, people with police records and an increase in working poor. Currently SPiN Café has 8 individuals whom I consider working poor—folks that hold down jobs or are between jobs that are unhoused or living in their cars. This people have income, but not enough income to afford the ever-increasing cost of housing.
Income and Expense
Our Income and Expenses over the last several years have increased and changed as shown in the following graphs. We are growing and doing great work, but still operated with a deficit. In 2020, the first year that we reopened the Day Center, we received quite a few Covid related grants. In 2022 we received an ARPA grant to reinstate our dinner program again as well as a very generous WADA grant for food to support our lunch and dinner programs, which runs through June 2023. We were also awarded a grant from Island Thrift for 2023 to support our dinner program. We have applied for new grants and are exploring new funding opportunities this year, but as a community non-profit organization we can’t do this without the financial support from you.
We hope that you will continue to support SPiN Café financially as well as with your in-kind donations. Please consider volunteering at the Day Center or help your church make sack lunches. I invite you to stop by and say hello and see our work in action. Join us in taking care of the most vulnerable in our community.