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.

“We are grateful,” says Michele, “for the Island County ARPA [American Rescue Plan Act] Community Service Grant we received in order to make this possible.  Serving meals is a key element of SPiN’s service to our community and we look forward to seeing our guests enjoy a homecooked and nutritious meal.”

Michele Chapman is Executive Director of SPiN Cafe.

The evening meal program, open to all regardless of ability to pay, was a cornerstone of SPiN Café’s mission for the years on Bayshore Drive. From a lost lease in 2019 to a two-year pandemic, it has been a tough haul. But inspired people, passionate people with kind hearts and confidence, can move mountains. Here, SPiN Board President Marc Stroud puts this long road in context:

Moving On

The beginning of 2022 has brought on a new chapter in the life of SPiN Café. SPiN has stepped into a new home. In the Fall of 2020, we contracted with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church to open a day shelter in their social hall. PPE equipped and COVID 19 ready we were once again able to provide a roof over the head for some thirty guests. By the time the Winter storms arrived, we were well prepared to accept guests, with trained volunteers to feed, guide and entertain those who were seeking shelter. In January 2022, SPiN Café found itself hosting an emergency night shelter supported by Island County Human Services and Island County Emergency Management. By the time of this newsletter, SPiN Cafe will have come full circle when we will begin serving hot meals to our guests again.

Marc Stroud
Marc Stroud is SPiN’s Board President and
Associate Pastor at Oak Harbor Lutheran Church.

But before we move on, I would like to remind our patrons, staff, and volunteers that an important stage in the life of SPiN Café has come to an end. In December of 2019 SPiN lost their lease at the original site. Rather than shut down totally, the SPiN Board of Directors shifted gears to respond to the needs of the homeless in Oak Harbor. We vacated our old site on Bayshore drive and temporarily set up a warm meal program at The Church on the Rock and St. Stephen’s Episcopal.

COVID 19 threw us for a loop, shutting down all inside gathering. The SPiN Board responded by reconfiguring its mission to serve Oak Harbor homeless by way of volunteer groups handing out lunches from their cars. SPiN lived a nomadic life, providing tailgate meal services down at Flintstone and Hal Ramaley parks.

With the help of ten volunteer groups, we distributed lunch meals every day of the week. Sack meals were distributed, comprising of two sandwiches, water, juice packets, chips, cookies and an orange all assembled and handed out by the groups. Many of our volunteers went the extra mile and brought hot meals and pizzas and homemade treats. A Local Restaurant, Kau Kau Corner on Midway, served hot Hawaiian meals during Thanksgiving in 2020. Altogether, we served 6,245 meals in 2020, of which 5,611 were sack lunches and 7,753 lunches served in 2021.

The legacy of SPiN in exile has shown that the people of Oak Harbor are still committed to helping the less fortunate of the community. We have seen a big uptick in businesses offering grant support and gracious donors wanting to keep the mission of SPiN Café alive. During this time we have built bridges with various community service agencies and extended our ability to serve our guests in more ways.

There is a certain harmony in this time of nomadic service. We are much more sensitive to the homeless situation. Our volunteers have met them on the streets and observed the homeless situation from the point of the daily life of our guests. As we move into the next phase of SPiN services, we are more mature in our approach to aiding our guests and seeing to their needs.