From our Board President, Rev. Marc Stroud
SPiN Cafe has offered shelter and nourishment to Oak Harbor residents for the past eight years. Most of that time we were in a little storefront on Bayshore Drive, next to the DMV offices. During the early years of the Café, we responded to the needs of our Oak Harbor homeless, jobless, and low income guests. Through the Café, these individuals were able to find the necessary facilities, laundry services, showers, cooked meals and job search information.
The idea of SPiN Café was intended to be a welcoming place for all residents of Oak Harbor, not just those in need. It was to be a place for people to congregate, visit, and catch up with friends. SPiN’s goal was to do more than provide for physiological and safety needs. SPiN functioned to extend a compassionate hand for our guests, and a loving, caring place to find fellowship and encouragement.
In late 2019, SPiN Café lost its rental agreement, and was closed temporarily. But that was not the end of SPiN, as you all know. It was transformed, offering some of the same services the storefront provided. SPiN went on the road, quite literally!
Thanks to our faithful volunteer corps, we began to serve daily lunches, on the curbside of Bayshore Drive. Car service to our guests continued a program of feeding the hungry of Oak Harbor throughout 2020 and into 2021. In retrospect, we were prepared to offer services in a way that would have probably been impossible in our storefront site. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, we were prepared to aid rather than be shut down like other cafes. In the middle of the winter, we were able to covenant with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church for a place to shelter Oak Harbor’s homeless. St. Stephen’s continues to serve SPiN guests today, in a safe environment that follows COVID-19 protocols.
But SPiN still misses the Café part of its services. The SPiN Board of Directors is actively looking for a place that would offer shelter and food, showers and job help. We are looking for a place that has access to bus lines and can offer social service programs from the County. We are looking for a place where hot meals, showers, and laundry facilities are made available to people in need. As the COVID-19 crisis eases, we can again envision a SPiN Café that supports the community of Oak Harbor.
For all of you receiving this newsletter, you are the backbone of support that makes real the vision of SPiN Cafe. Your financial and voluntary support have always been appreciated. The SPiN Board of Directors seek to make SPiN a place of hope for those in need, under a vision that exemplifies Oak Harbor at its best: a community that offers welcome to all.