By the time the big yellow food truck backed into its spot, the resource tables were hopping, the games were underway and there were few seats left at the picnic tables. Doorway Project's Spring Pop-Up Cafe on April 22nd was a success, partly in thanks to a bright, sunny day and an influx of community resources from around the city and state.
Chaat N' Roll was our food vendor for this latest edition, having served different curry dishes that satiated bellies young and old. It wasn't long before the U District community who attended had emptied out the truck's stock, and pleasantly overwhelmed this local small business.
If you found a seat at the picnic tables, off in the distance you would've seen a 'four square' game happening, where players from all walks of life did their best to shake off the rust from their schoolyard days. Over near the entrance to the U Heights building were nurses from the UW School of Nursing, led by Dr. Wendy Barrington. In the bright and breezy space, the group set up their mobile foot care clinic in which anyone could come and receive a light massage, nail trims, washings, clean socks and other health care services critical to foot health. Amidst all the activity, the sound system played a whirl of music from pop classics to country-western to trap beats, all thanks to a rotation of youth-led DJ requests.
In the cool shade, the horseshoe of purple pop-up tents housed a variety of community groups and service providers offering information, free swag and a spot to sit down and draw, doodle or discuss a few key questions: ''What does your community look like?'' and, ''What is needed here in the U District to make things better?''
These questions lay at the heart of the Pop-Up Cafe events, as well as the Doorway Project as a whole. While some people may sit down to thoughtfully sketch their best map of the U District, some just want to color and giggle at how the scented markers smell.
However their time is spent, folks regularly say that what they want more of is this: An open, friendly atmosphere, and access to resources and shared social space that the Pop-Up Cafe offers. We at the Doorway Project are looking forward to hosting more Pop-Up Cafes this Summer and beyond. As this project continues to grow and evolve, we know that each event builds upon the outreach and success of the one before it.
The Doorway Project Team has already begun planning Pop-Up Cafe #4, a Summertime event with the date still to be announced. Interested in helping out? Contact us or visit our Facebook page to learn more!
- Noah Weatherton