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:
SPiN Cafe has been active in Oak Harbor since 2012. Our Mission Statement sums up goals that guide us in serving homeless and other struggling people on Whidbey Island.
“To meet the basic needs of food, shelterand offer a sense of self-worth to the vulnerable people in our community.”
The hard work of volunteers, staff and financial supporters help us meet our mission and have an impact on lives in our area. The majority of our efforts are in assuring our guests get shelter and food at SPiN Cafe.
Meeting our guests’ physical needs is only the first step for those living on the edge in our community. Our mission pushes us to help them meet higher goals of humanity. Self-worth and belonging mean that we need to provide them with tools to help them fit back into the community.
I will use myself as an example. My story is like many in Oak Harbor. Our professions brought us to the Island, but the people we met here brought us into community. I came as a stranger, but I am part of Oak Harbor because of the friends and neighbors I have gained all over Whidbey Island. The work that brought me here helped me meet my family’s needs of food and shelter, while relationships support and confirm me as a friend and neighbor to others. This helps me to self-actualize my life through the people I come in contact with.
Tulalip Cares invites the groups they support to be honored at the Raising Hands celebration at the Tulalip Tribes Casino Center. It is tribal tradition to raise hands to applaud and give thanks to those who have given to the community. Since 1993, Tulalip Cares has donated $69.5 million to more than 400 charitable organizations.
David Thorson worked at SPiN Café, and he is, incidentally, one of the finest people I have had the chance to work with. David on several occasions made this statement:
“Sometimes a simple, consistent cup of coffee is the only stability a person has in their life.”
When people ask me what I do as a part time worker at SPiN Café, I tell them I pour coffee. Truly a large amount of my work involves the coffee maker. I try to do Bob Taylor proud. Bob is St. Stephen’s courageous and true unofficial guardian of the intimidating coffee maker in the kitchen. Each day my coworkers and I make pot after pot of coffee. 2 and a half scoops of grounds, pour water from the clear carafe, Voila!
“Great news from SPiN Café,” the email began. That’s always worth an immediate look.
And great news it was.
SPiN Café Executive Director Michele Hines announced on February 5 to our partner churches that SPiN has been awarded a three-year grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) totaling just over $635,000. The grant is renewable annually after three years.
The funds will allow SPiN to lease our own location where we can serve our guests 7 days a week. We have not identified the place yet, but we’re searching for one that will allow laundry services and showers too, under one roof, fulfilling a vision that was born when SPiN was founded 11 years ago.