A day at SPiN Cafe

Have you ever wondered what we do here at Spin Cafe?  What does Serving People in Need mean? 

Upon opening at 6:30AM, people have started arriving by van from the Haven, with some folks already waiting on the porch for us to open the door.  The morning staff person already has coffee ready, hot water on for tea or oatmeal, and cereal out for breakfast.  There is a constant stream of people getting settled at their tables, washing up, and having breakfast.  It is a busy time of the day for us.

A calm place, where humanity and dignity are respected, brings welcome relief.

By about 8:30, plans have been made for the day and many guests go about their business by catching the Island Transit or walking to Safeway, Walmart, Walgreens, the Garage of Blessings or other locations.  Someone hops on a computer to check their email, social media or to look for information.  At some point someone picks out a movie to watch.

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Bright notes! …and challenges

Treasurer’s report by Tom Saunders, SPiN Treasurer

The Board of Directors of SPiN Cafe are proud to say that we have a very strong balance sheet and have increased our budget from approximately $100,000 in 2021 to over $250,000 in 2022 which has allowed us to provide services to our guests that surpass our pre-pandemic levels.

This increase in services — we now open our day center 11 hours M-F, serve lunches on weekends, and employ an Executive Director and other paid staff, all while facing inflation in costs of serving our guests — has challenged us to find new financial resources. To date, we have met this financial challenge as a result of individual donations and public grants made available from the America Rescue Plan (ARPA). Our service levels today are also a result of great cooperation between SPiN and Island County Human Services as well as many other nonprofit local organizations. We are pleased with the direction we are heading and the support we currently have in our community.

We greatly appreciate our local donors and we continue to need your support more than ever.

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City leaders splash for SPiN

Holland Happening is an Oak Harbor tradition. In its sixth decade, the annual spring festival celebrates the town’s Dutch heritage along with the diverse cultures that call North Whidbey Island home.

2022’s event featured an extra fun dive into the deep end of fun. And fundraising.

According to SPiN board member Carol Wall, “we had a great response to our Dunk Tank at Holland Happening.  The tank was a benefit effort for SPiN Cafe and the North Whidbey Sunrise Rotary Walk for Water project. These community leaders brought out lots of people to see them go into the dunk tank. It was a fun event and our two groups raised over $2,300.00 to split between us!”

Shane Hoffmire: “this will be a long cherished experience.”

Community leaders who took a bath for SPiN included City Council members Shane Hoffmire, Jim Woessner, Bryan Stucky, and Dan Evans, as well as New Leaf CEO Steve Jacobs and First United Methodist Pastor Dave Parker.

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Jamar Jenkins, still grooving

Jamar Jenkins shakes his head at the thought.

“It was fifty-one years ago… man, that’s amazing… it was 1971, and a bunch of us in college at Western started a band. We opened for the Chambers Brothers in Bellingham, and that was it. We didn’t need college, we opened for the Chambers Brothers! They were huge! So we moved to Seattle…”

Jamar Jenkins brings his guitar groove to SPiN’s Spring Fling, May 21.

The band morphed into Cold, Bold, and Together, a mainstay of the thriving Seattle funk scene in the 70s. Like Jamar, a guy named Kenny G got his years-long saxophone career started with CBT in the clubs of Seattle.

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Mom, daughter set SPiN mood

Fe Mischo has orbited in the SPiN Café universe since the beginning.

When SPiN started out on Bayshore Drive, Fe already knew and respected SPiN founder Vivian Rogers Decker. Fe worked at ECEAP preschool (Early Childhood Education Assistance Program), where she sought out and advocated for families facing financial struggles and homelessness. She dropped off resource materials for families at SPiN, and got a firsthand look at the good things SPiN was doing for Oak Harbor.

“I was homeless myself at one point in my life,” Fe says. “I was 20 years old, with no place to live. All I had was my Nissan, so that’s where I slept. I had too much pride to ask my family for help. So many of us don’t want to acknowledge that we’re just one financial blow away from the streets. For me, it helps that I can relate, personally.”

From those early days of SPiN, Fe saw the way every guest was treated with respect and dignity. She knew this was an organization she could support.

Two years ago, as COVID sent workers and students into isolation, Fe left her job at the preschool to be home with her kids. Like a lot of women – and she’s quick to note accurately that women in the workforce took the blow in disproportionate numbers – Fe refocused her attention on her family while she rode out the lockdowns and closures of the pandemic.

A recent part-time spot serving lunches to SPiN guests drew her back to the workforce. As a longtime friend and supporter of SPiN’s mission, Fe knew exactly what she was getting into, and she’s glad she did. And in an odd happy twist, for this person whose job is to serve, Fe feels the joy and gratitude coming back at her.

Fe Mischo gets as much from SPiN as she gives.
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