Edmonds cafe collecting supplies for Lynnwood emergency shelter

Supplies collected at Cafe Louvre in 2020 filled half the cafe. (Photo courtesy Haifa Alhussieni)

Cafe Louvre in downtown Edmonds is running its fourth consecutive supply drive for YWCA’s Pathways for Women, a nonprofit that provides emergency shelter for single adult women and mothers with young children for 45 days. Some of the supplies that the shelter needs include personal care and cleaning products, hypoallergenic beddings, and kitchenware.

While cafe owner Haifa Alhussieni intended to end the supply drive on Dec. 23, she will likely extend it to the end of this year.

“There will always be someone coming in late, and I will take it,” she said.

In December 2018, a regular customer and Edmonds resident, Gina Pajoman, had asked Alhussieni what she thought about hosting such a drive. “If it works it’s amazing, and if it doesn’t work, we won’t do it again,” Alhussieni responded.

Last year, the supply drive at Cafe Louvre received enough donations to fill nearly half the cafe right before Christmas.

Haifa Alhussieni (Photo by Nick Ng)

“I like to help people, and some people have a drive to serve others,” said Alhussieni, a Lynnwood resident. “If my competitor wants me to train one of their baristas, I will train them.”

Snohomish County Human Services reported that there are 673 people without shelter in the county and 459 people are in temporary homes or in transitional housing.

Pathways for Women is a part of  YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, which has 22 locations across King and Snohomish counties with a total of 900 housing units. The Pathways for Women location has 13 emergency shelters and five permanent units, and in 2020, served 120 women and children.

Started in 1976 as World for Women in Edmonds to provide emergency shelter, the nonprofit changed its name to Pathways for Women in the mid-1980s, according to Annalee Schafranek, who is the marketing and editorial director at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish.

In 1995, Pathways for Women became a part of YWCA, which spread its presence into Snohomish County.

“We help our clients figure out how to transition from emergency housing to permanent housing. We provide mental health services, substance-abuse counseling, health and safety, and economic advancement,” Schafranek said.

The YWCA and Pathways for Women have continued their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and have never closed.

“We’re considered an essential business,” Schafranek said. “We’ve seen an increase in need of services due to the economic impact of COVID-19. We have folks in the community who are struggling to pay their rent or have lost their jobs. The eviction moratorium has certainly helped with that in terms of not increasing our homelessness crisis during a pandemic.”

Donation tags at Cafe Louvre. (Photo by Nick Ng)

The supply drive in Cafe Louvre has a list of items that are attached to Christmas baubles at the counter. Those who wish to donate may take one of the tags and can drop off donations by the cafe’s Christmas tree during business hours.

“Monetary donations to Pathways for Women and any fundraising would be helpful,” Alhussieni said. “If I can make a difference in someone’s life, it feels amazing.”

Cafe Louvre is located at 210 5th Ave. S. in Edmonds.

— By Nick Ng

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