After a string of disturbances - drug use, and threats of violence - the Everett Salvation Army is ending its twice-weekly public feeding program.
After seven years of providing meals to people in need on Monday and Tuesdays, serving about 80-100 people each night, Everett's Salvation Army is closing up its kitchen starting Monday, September 25th.
"It's hard for us to not have this meal because we do feel like we're meeting a need in the city," said Andrea Reedy, who is a core officer at the Everett location with her husband, Jeremy Reedy.
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The reason they've decided to end the meal service – a relentless stream of violence and drugs starting about six weeks ago
"The problems are escalating pretty quickly," Andrea said. "We are calling police between one and three times every single meal," she said.
Andrea and Jeremy say they find needles in the bathroom and see drug deals in the dining room. There are also violent threats – they say recently, someone upset threatened to come back with a gun, and a volunteer broke up a drug deal in the back ally.
"We're trying to do something for people, to show the love of God. And there's a few that want to cause trouble," Jeremy said.
They say it's just a few people each meal causing the problems, but it's reached a point where things just aren't safe.
"We don't just want to wait for something bad to happen," Andrea said.
"Better to be safe than sorry," Jeremy said.
The Everett Salvation Army's food bank will still be open for families. And Andrea and Jeremy hope to one day again, serve hot meals to those who need one.
"Absolutely, it's at the heart of what we do. We just want to find a safe way to do it," Jeremy said.
The Salvation Army says it is talking with other meal providers in Everett, the city, and Everett police to figure out how to stop the problem. One area they're looking at is finding better ways to ban the trouble makers.
Some other hot meal services in Everett include:
Everett Gospel Mission – serves meals at 11:30a and 5p daily
Central Lutheran Church – serves meals 4pm in the fall on Saturdays and Sundays
First Church of the Nazarene – Mondays at noon
Faith Lutheran Church – Tuesdays 5pm
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