Thank you starbucks foundation!

If you visit us at the OSL office these days, you will hear us all humming…

“when you wish upon a star your dreams come true…” with silly grins on our faces!

In 2014, OSL put a very specific vision out into the universe; the purchase of a Mobile Meal Kitchen that would allow us the ability to prepare and serve nutritionally dense, no-cost, meals, on site, to places where nourishing food is scarce, or non-existent. Many things have happened organizationally since the original dream, but we have been persistent and constant with our goal.

We have been working on this “dream goal” for five years. The Mobile Meal Kitchen, AKA, MMK, will deliver culturally appropriate food baskets to families struggling with hunger in targeted Seattle school districts, and throughout the summer time, our plan will be to make food on site for children’s programs. It will be used to move much needed, highly nutritional meals, into food desserts and food swamps through-out the greater Seattle area, including sanctioned encampments and tiny house villages. The meals that area created will take into consideration life style and faith choices, as well as medical and food sensitivities.

For the last 30 years, our focus as an organization has been to bring equity in the emergency meal system by providing meals that are not only nutritionally dense, but also excellent tasting, for those struggling with hunger. Serving more than 1.1 million no-cost meals annually, we also have understood that putting a band aide on a broken leg will not heal the injury. The purchase of the MMK will allow us to participate in the lives and well-being of children and their families at the ground level, meeting them where they are, directly in their own communities.

OSL’s Mobile Meal Kitchen is more than just a food truck. The MMK represents an investment that can transform the lives of future generations and create a platform for human dignity, opportunity, and empowerment. Success for this project is simple. Children are fed nutritionally dense foods that enable higher learning and more focused attention spans, families are provided culturally appropriate food, supplementing weekly requirements, sanctioned encampments and tiny house villages receive the support needed to meet their nutritional needs, and youth in juvenile detention are given another chance to contribute to their own positive forward motion through culinary education. The MMK also serves as a classroom and education lab, helping families learn how to prepare high quality meals using donated food sources. This is a win-win program, that contributes to nourishment on many levels; body, mind, spirit.

OSL has the capacity to prepare and deliver hundreds of thousands of meals with our drivers and chefs. We are proactive in shaping the overall food system by our approach and ethic on nutritional density, quality produce and protein, and culturally appropriate dietary support. Delivering culturally appropriate meals and meal basket ingredients at designated school sites, with the MMK, as well as healthful meals to the City sanctioned encampments and tiny house villages, will change the nutritional landscape for children, families, and individuals in our community. 

 In order to purchase this vehicle, the OSL board, gave us two directives. First, we needed to raise the $150,000 for the cost of the vehicle. Second, we needed to raise $150,000 for the first years’ operating cost of the vehicle and its programs/services.  It took us four years to raise $120,000, so we lowered our equipment expectations. Still, we persevered. Every opportunity we had, we talked, we begged, we inspired…

Somehow, Starbucks heard us.

A few weeks ago, Taran and Joe called me and asked if I had been looking at my emails. I was cranky. I had been working into the wee hours the night before on a grant, and woke up way too early, so I could complete the grant before the deadline…Cutting things to the wire is one of my more maddening attributes! And… in the middle of it all, was an organizational fire that needed to be put out before it burned down any of our host kitchens! So rather grumpily I said “No… emails are not on my mind right now! They were gleeful when they said “you may want to check out this one particular email” And so I did…

The email was from our friends at Starbucks and it said “We love your project and concept! Congratulations! The Starbucks Foundation is going to fund the Mobile Meal Kitchen’s first year of operations!!!

OH MY GOSH! I wept! … and rejoiced… and did a happy dance! and started humming…

“When you wish upon a star… hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm….”


THANK YOU, Starbucks Foundation!

The dream continues and now the work begins… Stay tuned!