City Council overcomes mayor’s veto on Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue plan

The Seattle City Council doubled down on its plans for how best to spend $6 million in Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue Monday, voting to ignore Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of the legislation.

Only interim Council member Abel Pacheco, downtown rep Sally Bagshaw, and North Seattle rep Debora Juarez sided with the mayor Monday.

CHS reported on the fight over funding scraps for health and food programs as the mayor attempted to focus the tax revenue on a smaller set of existing resources vs. creating new, often progressive programs.

The tax on sugary beverages was originally earmarked for creating new programs related to “healthy food and beverage access, birth-to-three services and kindergarten readiness, a public awareness campaign about sugary drinks, support for people actively living with obesity and diabetes, community-based programs to support good nutrition and physical activity and evaluation support for those programs.” With Monday’s veto-killing vote, the council’s plan for new programs can again try to move forward.

Meanwhile, Monday’s full City Council action also included approval of Seattle’s Green New Deal resolution. Durkan’s response to the approval was much friendlier than the sugary beverage tax situation. In a statement, the mayor applauded the vote and said she was “committed to expediting climate action” by issuing an Executive Order directing City departments to “evaluate how they can accelerate their action items under the City’s Climate Action Plan, and how Seattle can best meet the goals of the Green New Deal.” The final resolution can be found here.

After more than 400,000 meals for those in need on Capitol Hill, Don Jensen exits Community Lunch

Don, center, with volunteers (Image: Lucas Boyle)

In 1985, a group of local Lutheran churches banded together to provide a hot meal for low-income senior citizens of Capitol Hill. Ten people showed up for the first lunch.

On a recent rainy March day, the scene at the Central Parish House of the Central Lutheran Church looks very different. A quickly-growing crowd of over 30 people huddled under and near the awning of the entrance to the church, waiting for the doors to open at noon for a warm lunch of chicken and rice casserole.

Inside, plates clatter while a group of volunteers arranges the food, including a side of vegetable salad, buffet-style, on long tables near the back of the large, high-vaulted room. Others fold napkins and add more chairs to each table. At least 150 people are expected to come through the doors in the next hour. Continue reading

With 5,000 to feed every week, Cherry Street Food Bank seeks new home

After 35 years operating out of their space on 8th Ave and Cherry, the Cherry Street Food Bank is being displaced to make room for a new 30-story condominium tower. They’ve got until March 1, 2019 to vacate, and Northwest Harvest is scrambling to find a new home for their flagship operation which serves an average of 5,000 people a week.

Northwest Harvest CEO Thomas Reynolds considers the Cherry Street Food Bank the “beating heart” of their operations.

“We deliver to others who provide food but Cherry Street is a direct line to our most important stakeholder group: people with lived experience of hunger.” The food bank provides bags of groceries as well as sandwiches and other ready-to-eat meals for people who have no kitchen in which to prepare meals. Continue reading

US Food Sovereignty Prize Ceremony

Community Alliance for Global Justice and Community to Community invite you to celebrate the 8th Annual Food Sovereignty Prize, awarded by the the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) to frontline organizations transforming our food system by building power and creating real community-led solutions to poverty, hunger, and climate change.

Join activists, organizers, and community-based organizations from Seattle and throughout the US for a ceremony and reception to honor this year’s winners:  Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and Farmworkers Association of Florida. In the face of increased corporate agribusiness interests threatening their food systems, this year’s honorees address critical needs for farmers and farmworkers by strengthening alliances and advancing food sovereignty through the dissemination of agroecological practices.

The USFSA is an alliance of organizers, scholars, and working families, dedicated to food justice and food sovereignty in the US. The Prize – an alternative to the Big Ag-sponsored World Food Prize – will be awarded in Seattle for the first time since its 2009 inception. Both hosts – CAGJ and C2C – have been awarded the prize.

Register for the free event and learn more about the prize: http://foodsovereigntyprize.org/

We look forward to seeing you October 15!

Wave of support helps community group add new dinner night for Capitol Hill homeless, hungry

(Image: Community Lunch on Capitol Hill)

(Image: Community Lunch on Capitol Hill)

With social services outside Seattle continuing to dwindle and sometimes unexplainable opposition to providing help, here is a little bit of good news for homeless and hungry people in the city. Despite concerns from some neighbors in the area, a Capitol Hill nonprofit is able to move forward with its plan to add another day of hot meal service to its offerings.

Community Lunch on Capitol Hill tells CHS that it can move forward with its plan to add another night of dinner after a Wednesday meeting with neighbors near All Pilgrims where the meals will be hosted.

Community Lunch has been providing hot meals and a social structure — sometimes 200 to 300 diners at a time — in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years. The schedule these days has been Tuesday and Friday lunches at Central Lutheran and a Thursday night dinner at Broadway’s All Pilgrims.

Beginning next week, the organization will now add a Wednesday night dinner at All Pilgrims.

Executive director Don Jensen said the neighborhood discussion gave a few people living near the church an opportunity to air concerns and ask the group to work to address worries about increased numbers of homeless people coming to the area for the dinners.

He also said he was very happy with the tide of support that followed a social media post showing a note distributed in the area about the new night of service. Jensen said that people looking to support Community Lunch can check out the group’s website for ways to give and, especially, volunteer. He said the new Wednesday dinner service is still in need of help.