PT Food Co-op

The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, Port Townsend, 98368
Port Townsend
Phone: (360) 385-2883

Nourishing Our Community

by Kenna S Eaton

I’ve been living in Port Townsend for almost 7 years now—and have really grown to love the generous nature of our community. Citizens are always giving—of their time through volunteering (quite honestly we must be the most volunteering town in the country!) and through financial donations to a wide array of organizations from protecting farm lands to feeding those in need. It is truly amazing to live in such a place that wants to make sure everyone has a roof over their heads and to feed everyone good food.

And that generosity has also led to an increase of people wanting to live in Port Townsend, or at least be here for a while. In those past 7 years I have seen a significant increase in the number of people moving to town—sometimes those people don’t find an affordable place to live or do, but can’t make ends meet when they get here. There has also been an increase in folks with no intent to live here but who are drawn by our generosity regardless. This community has become increasingly noticeable as the season and years progress, and one symbol of that is the increase in the number of panhandlers all over town, including at The Food Co-op. The Co-op has become especially attractive to panhandlers as we have such compassionate staff and members; people who really care and want to feed those in need. Our shoppers are unique in that they want to nourish others even when they themselves may not have a lot of money. Unfortunately one of side effects we see with that type of giving is that it can feed addictions, rather than filing bellies.

To help change this dynamic The Food Co-op is partnering with The Boiler Room to offer an alternative for those in need. The Boiler Room offers a safe space to youth and a free meal (plus access to services) to anyone in need. They also sell a cup of coffee for $1.50. Coffee is not free, but a free meal is offered. Now, our members will be able to buy one of The Boiler Room tokens at the Co-op for $1.50 to give to anyone in need and know that person will be also be fed. It’s called ‘paying it forward’ and all funds raised go back to The Boiler Room to help them fulfill their mission.

Please consider helping those in need by purchasing a token, or five, next time you shop at the Co-op and giving tokens, instead of cash, to panhandlers. Also think about how can we as a community work together to find other ways of fulfilling those needs, and to embark on those difficult conversations that can ultimately result in change. Thank you.

Our notes:

The Boiler Room is dedicated to building community by providing a safe space for the growth and improvement of individuals. Services at The Boiler Room are provided with the least possible number of barriers; no proof of need is required. The only must is that everyone must be respectful.

From January to November 2017, The Boiler Room served 23,013 meals to our community and provided over 3,000 free hygiene supplies. Also offered are free art lessons, music, job training, and a safe, clean, dry space to be in all weather. Programs at The Boiler Room are made possible by volunteers. For more information, please see www.ptbr.org. Thank you!

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