Since Christmas, Jam’s Joy Bungalow on the square in Sebastopol has been providing free meals for anyone who needs it between 3-5 pm on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. This month, that schedule didn’t work for her, so Jam’s owner Jamilah Nixon declared “Free Food April,” offering to provide a delicious meal to those who can’t afford to pay (no questions asked) during the whole month of April.
She’s able to do this, she said, because she’s been getting lots of donations from her regular customers.
“So many people have been giving us donations,” she said. “Today, a woman who I’ve known for my entire life, a local real estate agent, gave me a check for $500 to put toward this. That’ll pull us through the next few months of doing it. That kind of generosity allows us to give people food whenever they need it.”
Thus far this month, only a few people have taken her up on her offer, but Nixon says she’s been exploring other pathways of finding people who need food.
“I just spoke to one of the local guys and said I was gonna give him some gift cards to hand out, because sometimes it’s nice for people to be able to pay with something rather than say ‘I want something for free,’” she said. “We also donated a bunch of free-on-us coupons to one of the meal drives at the end of March.”
Nixon said she feels for those who are struggling economically.
“I live in Sebastopol, and I’m a single mom raising a daughter,” Nixon told Townsy Media back in January when we first spoke to her about her free food program. “If I was out of work right now or was furloughed or had a business that wasn’t doing well, I know that it would be really tough for me to make ends meet, and give her a sense of normalcy and be able to go out and kind of feel like you’re part of the community.”
She plans to return to her regular “Free Food” twice a month schedule in May.