Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
We believe that everyone deserves to thrive on Lopez—whether that means being able to raise a family, build a career, or live in a stable home. Our community depends on being able to retain neighbors who work as EMTs, senior caregivers, and other essential service workers for our island.
LIFRC supports the future of affordable housing options by advocating for fair policies. We compel our County government to support affordable housing within the County Comp Plan, Lopez Village Plan, Real Estate Excise Tax Initiative (REET) and more. We also endorse and assist the efforts of Housing Lopez, Inc. (HLI), a nonprofit group founded by volunteers with extensive housing development experience. HLI aims to build small rental neighborhood communities so that essential workers on Lopez have safe and affordable places to rent.
Two years ago, a group of 80 community members identified food security as essential the health and well-being of our community. LIFRC convened a strategic planning group with community partners to develop a detailed, comprehensive food security plan. Together we generate solutions to support our hard-working neighbors and ensure that everyone has enough healthy food to eat.
One example is the Lopez gleaning program:
Community members are trained as harvest leaders, and paired with orchard owners to coordinate efforts the work of volunteer gleaners.
Harvest leaders identify and implement storage and distribution systems.
80 volunteer gleaners harvest over 10,000 pounds of fruit each year.
The fruit is shared with the Lopez Fresh Food Bank, school meals program, Senior Center lunches and more.
The food security project has now expanded to encompass the larger goal of shaping an island with its own sustainable food system. Contracting with Lopez farms, food producers and restaurants propels our local economy while offering nutritious options to people grappling with food insecurity. The Lopez Food Share Program is an integrated system of farm to market to table.
Mental Health Supports
Lopez has insufficient mental health services to meet the needs of the community. People who seek access to mental health support are often told that there are no services currently available and put on a wait list. It is not possible to schedule a crisis for a later date. The urgency of equitable access to mental health supports is a foundation of our advocacy.
We bring together community members including firefighters, EMTs, sheriff's deputies, health care providers (medical clinic, hospital district, and Compass Health), private therapists, school representatives, San Juan County workers, and others to provide community-wide trainings. We include community members with lived mental health challenges to guide us in advocating for increased resources and educating others.
We strive for equity within our organization and throughout our programs. To effectively work in service to and partnership with people, we must be both self-reflective and committed to learning about the historic, social and systemic influences affecting individuals and our community as a whole.
We strive to work with cultural humility across the diverse backgrounds and life experiences of our clients and partners to leverage the greatest wisdom in designing effective programs, projects and policies.
We bring neighbors together: to listen to one another, tap unique talents, learn collectively, and find innovative solutions for immediate and future needs.
We host “Voices and Visions” groups in order to:
build stronger relationships among all islanders, including seniors, youth, and BIPOC and other marginalized community members
help implement the ideas of people who have lived experiences with mental health, poverty, and discrimination
support others' leadership efforts to bring about change.
We also periodically host off-island Coast Salish leaders to bring them to their ancestral lands, listen to what is important to them, find ways to support their efforts, and create opportunities for justice and healing.
LIFRC shares our innovative work with other organizations in San Juan County, as well as regionally with the North Sound Accountable Community of Health. We are pleased to partner with other organizations to share what we learn.