General Indifference

I work inside of poverty. My job is to make sure that those who the public sees as faceless and nameless individuals are not without representation, and of course, not without meals. I walk into City Hall and Council Chambers with the strongest of intentions, but I also acknowledge the internal battle that happens every time I am stopped at an intersection next to someone holding a sign asking for help. I smile, I nod, I make sure they know that I see them. I pacify myself by knowing that every day, I AM working to insure this person has access to a meal, but I always wonder: how does THAT PERSON know that I am not just nodding and smiling at them and going on my merry way like all of the other thousands of drivers that have passed them that day. How am I serving them by not imparting that knowledge to them, and how selfish am I to want to justify myself to that person, and for what reason? Forgiveness? Acceptance? Camaraderie?

OSL received passive notice last week that the Outdoor Meal Sites location would be needed as a staging area for repairs on I-5 on the weekends for the next 9-17 weeks. No one called us, no one has attempted to work with us to figure out where the 15 meal providers whom this effects are going to serve. This communication was lost in the nebulous “who owns this” “who manages this” “who is supposed to call who” land of bureaucracy. In fact, it was OSL staff who noticed an engineer examining a wall during a meal who had to step forward and ask “What can I help you with?” who got this conversation started. A conversation that probably could have started months ago. Maybe even years.

But the fact is, we all have our jobs. We all smile as we are stopped at the intersection, fighting the internal battle of how we are making any positive change for the PERSON holding a sign and asking for help. The engineer, the scheduler, WSDOT staff, SDOT planners, we all have spent our commute looking through our rain covered windows, reading those signs. It is possible that one of them, or even all of them, wondered as they sat, waiting for the light to change, how the work they planned would effect that person. Or perhaps they all just filed them away as another nameless, faceless person.

You can be sure that the traffic has been planned; the signs have been posted for those who society allows to have a face and a name. If you own a car, you probably have a better idea of how this is going to affect your life than those who rely on this location to meet their basic needs. Because of this construction, the place that this nameless faceless person receives a meal, three times a day, seven days a week, is going to be gone. Was anyone planning on letting us know? Does the ripple effect of each of our actions not apply to those who are doing them as part of their government job? And for OSL, and the 15 other meals provider effected, where are we to go? Were we to just show up a work to find the construction equipment covering our workspace, and just figure it out?

We will. We always do.

The way we do may not be very popular, and it is sure to get a lot more attention. It’s possible that some providers will walk down to City Parks, effecting Parks & Rec, and some providers will just go home, leaving the hundreds of hungry people waiting in line to scramble for their meals. Those who cannot pass a breathalyzer, or refuse to be evangelized in order to receive a meal at the closest providers, may simply go hungry.  Perhaps we should just implement a furlough on hunger over the weekends for the next few months. I mean, it really isn’t true that people need to eat EVERYDAY, is it?

On my commute home today, I will pass by the Outdoor Meal Site, and I will smile at the man holding a sign, asking for help. I will know in my heart that I AM attempting to make a positive impact on his life, but at the same time, I cannot tell him where he is going to get his meal on Saturday.

~Kim Jones, Development Director

Update 2/19/14

After many phone calls and questions, OSL was able to work with WSDOT and their crew, and together, we were able to find a resolution to the matter that does not include closing down the Outdoor Meal Site. We are grateful to those who, once aware, walked hand in hand with us to work towards a solution for this matter for our most vulnerable community members

The sentiment and questions posed by the original post remain:
At OSL, it is part of our mission to advocate with and on behalf of those who cannot leverage the power to impact policy. Where is the line between ones “job” and ones duty as a member of the great community? When do we begin to expect that every person is responsible for thinking of how their tasks at work are going to ripple through out the entire pond? This is not an change that not only requires buy in by each individual, but a shift in cultural consciousness.

Give the Gift of Love

Valentine’s Day is a day we express our feelings to those that we love. Though flowers and jewelry are nice, OSL offers a unique and thoughtful gift alternative this year.

Give the Gift of Love

By supporting OSL in honor of your Valentine, you can triple your benefit: the gift of chocolate cookies for your sweetie, a tax write off for you, and supporting OSL in serving love to those who cannot access meals in more conventional.

$50.00 donation includes:

  •  OSL Original Greeting card   honoring your donation to OSL in your Valentine’s name. There are three (3) custom design options for the cover. Please chose one when ordering. 

$75.00 donation includes:

  • OSL Original Greeting card   honoring your donation to OSL in your Valentine’s name. There are three (3) custom design options for the cover. Please chose one when ordering. 
  • 20 Chocolate Chili OSL Original cookies – Crafted by dessert master and OSL’s own Chef Paul, these soft chewy chocolate cookies have a kick of love (and chili powder!). Made with all organic ingredients, they are sure to warm your Valentine’s heart and pallet.

$100.00 donation includes:

  • OSL Original Greeting card   honoring your donation to OSL in your Valentine’s name. There are three (3) custom design options for the cover. Please chose one when ordering. 
  • 20 Chocolate Chili OSL Original cookies – Crafted by dessert master and OSL’s own Chef Paul, these soft chewy chocolate cookies have a kick of love (and chili powder!). Made with all organic ingredients, they are sure to warm your Valentine’s heart and pallet.
  • A Copy of Sizzle & Buzz Cookbook – “This book is an amazing collection of recipes from the NW’s best restaurants. Cooking a dinner from this book lets you visit Portland, Seattle, Bend, and points in between without leaving home.” 

–Andrew Fortgang, Chef & Co-Owner at Le Pigeon and Little Bird

Please select one greeting card with your gift. Options:

card fronts options card fronts options2 card fronts options3


Gift Levels
Greeting Card

Let’s go on a date!

I have been in this relationship for 18 years. It started out with such a simple date; we put on our best and had lunch together. Sure, this lunch required me slaving in the kitchen and scrubbing dishes, and I even cut my finger while slicing a bagel, but I remember it with such fondness all these years later.

I was just a high schooler the first time I volunteered, and by the time I was 19, OSL and I were in a relationship. I worked side by side with Beverly, assisting her in whatever administrative work was needed: running errands, addressing envelopes, crafting annual reports, and filing away mountains of paper. The longer I was around OSL, the more I saw all the things that made this organization REAL. I began to understand, and really appreciate all of the substance that it holds beyond the pretty pictures on the brochures.

After leaving the staff to pursue my own business, I joined the Board of Directors, then became a Business Partner. Though the strength of our connection ebbed and flowed, all along the way, the relationship was still growing. I have sung on stage with Beverly in OSL Benaroya concerts, I have sold tickets to cruises, and procured A LOT of auction items. When I came back on full time staff two years ago, it was much like moving in with someone. Suddenly all of the romance is complicated with realities like filing reports (dirty socks), and grant close outs (bad snoring).

Like any good partner, I take these little things with a grain of salt, and practice gratitude every day. If I ever am feeling a little disconnected, or bogged down in the mundane land of a thousand nonprofit details, I simply walk into the kitchens. The laughing Chefs, the eager volunteers, and the smells of the wonderfully nutritious meals in the ovens, are sure to remind me that it really does take every member of this team to make this happen. I am blessed to be a member of that team. If I ever lose sight of the mission, I just call my spot in the service line at the Outdoor Meal Site, so that I can borrow a bit of the gratitude from our clients for a moment, who share it so openly, with wide smiles and sincere hearts. It’s in those moments, we all forget the drains that need cleaning, and oil that needs changing, or the paperwork that needs tackling.

I enjoy sharing the story of OSL, and meeting those that have not had the opportunity to meet that side of the organization yet. Part of me knows that I can talk until I am blue in the face as to why I LOVE OSL, but it won’t mean anything until someone actually experiences it.

OSL and I are going on a date soon, you know, to keep the romance alive. I am going to get all dressed up, and be part of the team that arranges the million-and-a-half details needed to make the date go off superbly. We are going ignore the dishes, and the reports due next week, and we are just going to sit down and focus on our dreams, and all of the amazing things that we can accomplish.


I invite you to come on date with OSL, and me, and a few hundred of our closest friends. We will put on our best, serve you, tell you how our endearing pieces fit together, and show you all of the pretty brochure-worthy pictures. We are going to fill the room with music, and invite you to be a part of the story as well.

And who knows? This might lead to something: first we will take you on a date, and maybe, down the road, you will decide that you want to move in too. There’s plenty of room at the table.

            ~   Kim Jones, Development Director & OSL Supporter since 1995

Please join us for our annual Luncheon on March 4th at St. Demetrios Hall.

Tickets and more information: 



From the OSL Archieves:

Serving 2000-2001

Kimi serving, 2000-2001

With OSL Staff, 2008

Cirque de Soliel, 2005

Benaroya, 2007

Benaroya, 2007


With Mayor, 2013

With Mayor, 2013