News Feed

The Market Community Safety Net Responds Quickly

Posted May 12, 2020

The Market Community Safety Net responds to Market workers and farmers in-need

When the reality of the COVID-19 crisis hit, it was a shock to our whole community. Market businesses had to quickly close, suddenly putting thousands of Market community members out of work. As economic stability decreased for many of these Market workers, we knew that our response needed to be quick and nimble.

Our Market Community Safety Net program has always been an option for community members facing a sudden financial crisis and need support to regain stability. Last year, we served 103 people through our Safety Net granting – now 2 months into the pandemic, we have received over 100 referrals for the funds. 

We’re hearing from flower farmers, artists and craftspeople, restaurant employees, and so many more Market workers deeply impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Almost all these requests are for rent relief, due to the loss of regular income and the uncertainty of employment  so many people are facing. 

But we are finding hope in the actions of donors and our Market community. So many community members came together and devised inventive ways to raise funds for these Market workers in need. 

Thanks to these efforts and to the hundreds of donors like you who have risen to the challenge, we’ve been able to raise over $281K for these Market community members in just 2 months! We’re seeing incredible generosity from every corner of the city. 

“I love Pike Place Market (and Sosio’s!), and I want my relief check to help as many PPM vendors as it can,said donors Kurt & Ilene, local Seattle residents and Sosio’s Produce shoppers who donated their stimulus check to the Safety Net fund. 

This fundraising total absolutely floored us, and has allowed us incredible flexibility when it comes to being able to grant Safety Net requests now and in the coming months. It also strengthens our ability to provide resource navigation to these workers via our community resource center, The Market Commons.The Commons staff works on-on-one with community members to help them access any resources, Safety Net and beyond, that might help alleviate the immediate crisis and work towards long-term stability.

This Safety Net funding has started to go out to some recipients, including flower farmers unable to sell at the Market and who are deeply affected by this crisis. “We’ve been in the Market for over 25 years – this farm has been in my family for 3 generations now.” says Cher Lor, whose family is a staple among the flower stands in the Market,

“When the Market isn’t open and you’re not selling your product, you’re just losing it. The funding went to our rent and was able to ease us on our stress for a month or two.”

The number of requests only continues to increase as the Market has been closed for all but essential business and take-out for the past 7 weeks. And when the Market opens up, we anticipate the needs to change and grow as the economic ramifications of the crisis start to hit home. “We are working with a lot of people who have not ever needed this kind of fund. As the state opens back up, people will start to not be eligible for unemployment, but businesses will not be staffing at the same rate as before.” says Crystal Dixon, who manages The Commons and community programs like the Safety Net, 

“It’s likely people will be underemployed, but costs of living will still remain high. This is where we will see the second wave of requests are going to come in, and it probably will be a bigger, longer wave” 

Thanks to the many people who are uplifting our mission to nurture this Market community in this time of crisis. Our work is far from over, but we have a head start on what’s to be a long recovery effort. 

If you’re able to, please consider a gift to the Safety Net today!

Rally for the Market! – Support the Power of Pike Place event 

Date:  June 18th, 2020  //   Starting at 6:30 pm 

Rally for the Market! is a free live-streaming, virtual event from Pike Place Market where our region will come together to bring the Market community back to health and vibrancy. 

Celebrate with music, food, and stories of the Market you love and find out how YOU can be a part of the Power of Pike Place!