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AGENCY SPOTLIGHT: OUR PLACE – AUGUST 13
Author: Ben Prez
On a given Wednesday summer evening the Spokane Community consistently flocks to the Kendall Yards Farmers Market to pick up local produce, shop artisanal goods, and dine at food trucks. At the same time, a few blocks away, Our Place Community Outreach holds a free farmers market offering a variety of fresh produce, meats, canned goods, and other staples.
Nestled in the West Central neighborhood of Spokane, Our Place, a long time Second Harvest partner agency, offers a Wednesday (4 p.m. – 6 p.m.) free market along with a Thursday morning (10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) option as well. Shoppers peruse the tables laden with veggies, picking what they will use and filling their carts. A danceable beat thumps away as volunteers mingle with guests, sharing recipes, laughing, and joking with the patrons. What started as a seasonal summer program has expanded to a year-round event.
“We fed 31,000 people in one year. You see a child walking out holding a nectarine and it makes sense,” Our Place Food Pantry Manager Setira Dawson says. “We get people from Deer Park, Valley, Spangle, Rockford. They get to choose what they know they will use and what their kids will eat. That choice is dignity. It makes you feel worthwhile and valued.”
Our Place receives a majority of its food from weekly deliveries from Second Harvest – but free food to those in need is just one of the services provided. They also have a personal hygiene bank, laundry services, showers, utility bill assistance, and free bus passes.
Director Tracie Swanson, along with Setira and a dedicated crew of volunteers, provide these services week after week to those in need with an emphasis on strengthening community, serving with dignity, and meeting the needs of families and children.
“We couldn’t do this without Second Harvest. The orders are consistent, they show up every week without fail and it’s good food,” Dawson says. “When you see a kid walking out holding nectarines and peaches it changes their whole mood.”
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