On March 30th East Central Community Café members – past and present – got together to celebrate all that the café group has accomplished over the last 7 years. We also celebrated each other and each person’s contribution to the café and our neighborhood. Jennifer Hansen who started and facilitated the Community Café through the Neighborhood’s Matter program within the Spokane Regional Health District, put together a wonderful celebration complete with a slide show of photos taken during different projects over the years. It was evident by all the words of appreciation, accolades and even a trophy how much Jennifer has meant to all the café members. Her leadership, networking skills, tenacity, and passion for East Central was the unifying force behind much of the success of East Central’s Community Café along with many resident member’s hard work and numerous volunteer hours.
Each resident was honored for their contribution. Jen had a kind word for everyone and recalled a favorite memory from a project – whether it was the awesomeness of Allen’s kabota that saved our back’s during several projects to washing vegetables by a garden hose in freezing weather. The scope of the café and its impact on our neighborhood was immense! During the slideshow, Jennifer talked fondly about each project, the people involved, it’s impact on the neighborhood and residents, and the long-term benefits of building community in a neighborhood formerly known only for drug use and prostitution. The Community Café worked on projects ranging from cleaning up tons of trash, to increased lighting that reduced crime, to a garden vegetable food bank that teaches many about proper nutrition and growing and eating fruit and veggies, to community gardens, to helping neighbors clean up their property and putting in an ADA accessible ramp! The community café has been a vital part of the revitalization of the East Central Neighborhood.
This celebration marked a transition time for the Community Café. It will now be a committee within the Neighborhood Council and will be project based. Anyone can come to the Neighborhood Council meeting, suggest a project for café committee members and if approved by vote of the council, the committee will be activated. Once activated, the committee will meet, discuss the project, make a plan, and then implement it with the full support of the Neighborhood Council. There are already several project ideas for the café committee so even though it won’t have regular meetings on the 1st and 3rd Mondays, the café will still be an active force in our neighborhood’s revitalization.
Below is a gallery of photos from the celebration.