Issaquah cash mob aims to stock food bank

November 13, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

The indefatigable team behind recent cash mobs at Issaquah businesses is asking consumers to shop BOGO — buy one and, in a holiday season change-up, give one.

The next cash mob is due to descend on specialty grocer Champion Grocery on Nov. 17, and organizers encourage shoppers to buy something for themselves, and something extra for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

In a cash mob, a group of people descends on a business to buy, buy, buy. The destination is revealed through social media services. Then, the mob pops up at the business to browse and shop.

The 20- and 30-something business leaders in the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce — Young Issaquah Professionals, or YIPPIES for short — modeled the cash mob on similar events elsewhere.

How to help

Issaquah Cash Mob

  • 9-11 a.m. Nov. 17
  • Champion Grocery, 1175 N.W. Gilman Blvd.
  • Organizers encourage participants to BOGO — buy one, give one — to benefit the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.
  • Find clues about the December cash mob location and learn more about the Young Issaquah Professionals at YoungIssaquahProfessionals.

“At its core, cash mobbing is supposed to be supporting the community,” Audrey Slade, YIPPIES chairwoman, said in a Nov. 9 interview. “Nonprofits fit in really well with that. It’s really nice if we’re able to get some extra exposure for the nonprofit while we’re helping a small business. That’s your classic two birds, one stone situation.”

Organizers shifted the date for the upcoming cash mob to a Saturday from a weekday in a bid to increase participation.

Cori Kauk, food bank executive director, said the cash mob comes at a critical time for the organization. The food bank’s needs often come into focus during the holiday season.

“It really does fall on the shoulders of our community members, because the food bank doesn’t have the capacity to do this all by ourselves,” she said. “The need is too great.”

The food bank serves clients from throughout the Issaquah School District — from Preston to Newcastle, and from Sammamish to Renton.

Kauk said the cash mob destination, Champion Grocery, is a “hidden gem” in the community. News about the coming cash mob thrilled the store’s owners.

“The reaction from Champion was just so great; it’s exactly why we do this,” Slade said.

Kauk encouraged cash mob participants to consider purchasing staple items, such canned tuna and peanut butter, for the food bank. Unlike holiday season-specific items, demand for staple items is high all year.

The planned event is the latest effort to use a cash mob to give back to the community.

In August, cash mob participants stuffed backpacks with school supplies for children in the food bank’s Tools for Schools program. The effort collected enough school supplies for 1,000 children.

Slade said the organization’s December cash mob is also designed to include a philanthropic component.

“Issaquah is a community that wants to give back,” she said.

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