One day when she was leaving the Centerstone office in downtown Seattle, CEO Andrea Caupain met a homeless man outside the building. She stopped to talk to him and he explained that he couldn’t eat the food he had just picked up from the food bank. He had a week’s worth of fresh food, but no pot to cook it in. So, the next day she brought him a pot from home that he could use to cook his meals with from then on. This interaction reflects the core of Centerstone’s mission: to be a lifeline in the community.
Centerstone began in the 60s as part of the War on Poverty movement. Along with 31 other community action agencies formed in the state, it advocated for low-income individuals’ rights in legislation and provided them with daily necessities through on-the-ground programs. Over the years it evolved and began offering services to anyone in need. Today, Centerstone provides energy, housing, and food assistance for families, seniors, immigrants, and people with disabilities who are having financial difficulties. Staff members pay bills so people can keep their heat on in the winter, provide deposits for people trying to obtain a new apartment, and distribute food at a local food bank. And once a crisis is averted, they also teach individuals life and money management skills.
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