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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SPiN dinners return

Persistence pays off, once again. It took a couple of years, but it was dogged persistence,it was relentless, and it was confident, knowing there will be good days ahead.

SPiN Executive Director Michele Chapman has announced that, on March 15, SPiN and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church will once again welcome guests for dinner.

St. Stephen's welcomes SPiN guests
Welcome home, friends. We’ve missed you.

Evening meals will be served from 4:30 – 5:30 PM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in the St. Stephen’s parish hall,  555 SE Regatta Drive in Oak Harbor.

Volunteers will be needed. Volunteer information is available by clicking here.

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“It’s a win, right?”

Michele Chapman made the introduction, with a twist. SPiN Cafe’s Executive Director, full of gratitude and admiration, presented David Thorson, saying: “You can’t be The Morning Person without being a morning person.”

It sounds obvious, but it’s still impressive. Not everyone can pull off what David Thorson does, with the enthusiasm David brings with him every morning. And he’s so matter of fact when he describes arriving at SPiN daily at 6AM. Listen close, and you’ll hear the smile in his voice.

No doubt, there’s a smile behind that mask.

“I unlock, prepare SPiN for guests to arrive, get the coffee going, breakfast and snacks ready.” And most important, David says, “I’m there to make SPiN Cafe comfortable and safe for our guests. Especially safe. That means sometimes I have to go over our code of conduct with them, and when I do, it’s all about safety.”

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Compassion is Good Business

The opening question comes in pretty soft.

Bryan and Carrie Stucky glance at each other in response, like they know their answers will be different. 

The question, for the record, was, “How did you get involved supporting SPiN Cafe?”

As a business owner considering a run for City Council last year, Bryan needed to learn more about the people of our town and the issues they face. He’s a board member at North Whidbey Help House, where he sees the business side but is a bit removed from the services they provide. So he started asking questions, and he connected with SPiN Executive Director Michele Chapman, who was happy to help him expand his knowledge.

“It was mostly from a practical perspective,” Bryan says. “It was about business. My wife Carrie looks at it with, I’d say, more compassion.”

Across the table, Carrie smiles and shakes her head. She’s not so sure she has more compassion than Bryan. “But it makes me so sad to see the lack of kindness and understanding in our community about homelessness and poverty.” 

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Harry keeps it rockin’

We knew something good was coming.

We knew it when Harry Anderson smiled and took the mic at a recent SPiN event. His powerful words from that night are copied below. But first, a little context.

Harry writes the “Rockin’ a Hard Place” column for our local Whidbey News Times, a regular gift to readers that lifts up our unique island community with gentle humor and plain spoken truth.

But Harry got a little spicy that night.

Harry has volunteered for SPiN since the early years of the original location on Bayshore. Serving meals to SPiN guests got him hooked. He’s been a supporter with his time and dollars ever since.

The original SPiN location, where Harry first volunteered.
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