We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristen Cox and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristen, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I had been deeply involved in the political process for many years and saw that things are only getting more difficult for almost everyone, rather than lives improving for the majority, except the extremely wealthy. I have always served the community in one way or another and was raised in a family that did the same. As my activism made me more and more aware, the current system is not working at all and only benefits those at the very top. Politicians are far more influenced by lobbyists than voters/average citizens. This has been true for many demographics for much longer than average US citizens. People of color, women, and other marginalized communities don’t have the ability to make their case to politicians or people who can do something about it and, honestly, most wouldn’t listen anyway. I was a party delegate, I led large grassroots campaigns, I tried to save my children’s futures and those of everyone who just wanted a better life. My activist friends and I went to Standing Rock twice and put our bodies on the line to help stop DAPL. Our Democratic president at the time made protesting a felony as a result. We went to provide hurricane relief after Katrina and Harvey. What you always saw was that certain populations were always impacted much more severely. Finally, I gave up on trying to fix the current system, and got interested in how to create a better parallel system and then I watched other countries take much better care of the people sliding through the cracks of their societies and their life expectancies and satisfaction rise, along with healthcare outcomes, education, etc and it was because their countries had put the community before the corporations. So we created a mutual aid cooperative that was focused on raising the level of connection, community, dignity for all citizens, while they also contribute in various ways. One of our delivery recipients is in a wheel chair with multiple health issues but also does our data entry from home. Many recipients volunteer their time. We’ve helped people get off the street, feed their kids and keep a roof over their heads, which lowers crime rates, improves education scores and reduces domestic violence. This is how we really improve societal conditions.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I feel like there is a lot of overlap between this and the first question I answered.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Often when friends visit, they want to be involved in volunteering with us, but, Long Beach also has a lot to offer as a community. Prior to covid, we regularly had large groups of people in our home to network, connect and brainstorm on what we can do for the community. Preserving our wetlands is also very important to us. We enjoy the beauty of Long Beach, like the ocean and piers, mountain views, and the nature center. We participate and attend many of the cultural opportunities, and watch friends play music or display their genres of art, film, etc. We enjoy the Art Theater and the important information they often bring to the community. We love the diversity and Pine St is also a good sample of that, although we haven’t been down there since Covid started. This city is full of spectacular hidden gems in terms of restaurants, cultural venues and views.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We have incredible volunteers who put long hours into making sure that there is enough food, packaging, hygiene products, clothing, drivers, a functional website, gardens being built, wood and gardening supplies, food being harvested, tech being updated, bags being tagged, send out communication, bring in resources, do book keeping, data entry, drive the bus to the parks, load the bus, fill and deliver boxes with food, translate everything, and a million other parts that make this thing work so well. Even my kids and husband have been involved. We also were donated the use of a warehouse since June 2019 by Elliot Lewis of Catalyst Cannabis in Bellflower. We have a bus but are likely being donated another one soon so that we can bring supplies to more people living in or near parks where people are in need. Other people have donated vehicles, shelving, supplies and on and one. Its humbling to see how hard people are working to help their community rise to a level of greater economic security and dignity.
Facebook: Long Beach Community Table
Youtube: Long Beach Community Table
Other: Our volunteer app is called Band. https://band.us/n/a6ae37K69d55U. Please join to help your community!
I believe that the best place to get the pictures is from the website. www.LongBeachCommunityTable.com