MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash. — Donations come in all forms, including liquid – and Larry Clarke has given away more than $10,000 worth of fresh-squeezed juice since April.
"We have two kids that go to the local schools in our neighborhood and it just seemed to be the right thing to do,” he said.
"This is open to all kids in the community,” said Megan de Vries, Director of Food & Nutrition Services. "It actually benefits our local school district because all of my food service workers are working, and we get federal reimbursement for every meal we serve so it brings federal money into our community, and we buy products from local companies. So there's so much that gives back."
The program includes 27 sites handing out breakfast and lunch five days a week. For the past five weeks, the meals handed out on Fridays at Mountlake Terrace Elementary have included half-gallons of Evolution juice (which can retail for $10-$12.)
Oldskool usually distributes the bottles to local restaurants, hotels, and even the Seahawks. But when state closures went into effect, the orders disappeared and Clarke was left with hundreds of gallons of perishable product.
“I had a lot of inventory that I'd paid for and had to do something with it,” he said.
Rather than finding a new way to sell it, Clarke decided to give it away.
“That first day when I got back home, the dread of the future was kind of behind me,” he said. "There will be time to make money, that will come. This is more about taking care of everybody that I can, within my radius. And so, here we are."
Clarke said he found a new sense of purpose in a chaotic time, and a reminder of what really matters.
"Crisis either divides you or brings you closer together, and it's beautiful here in Mountlake Terrace to see it bringing this community together,” de Vries said.
Clarke has worked through his backlog juice, but is hoping to buy and distribute more with financial help from the community. He can be contacted via Facebook message or text.