Tis the season to give and there are so many worthy causes. I like to start at home, i.e. my community. That means Leschi Elementary School, which still has a number of homeless students who depend on backpacks of food to make it through the weekends and extra resources for the holidays when school is not in session. This is a long stretch as school is closed from Dec. 24 to January 7. Each year, Leschi has a Giving Tree with ideas for gifts to students and families. The school also gives grocery cards for food during the winter break. Last year, the Leschi CC Board voted to give some of your donations throughout the year to the school in the form of gift cards to Grocery Outlet. The Leschi Mason Bee Project had an abundant harvest and was able to give $225 as well. (This year’s harvest was poor and will not result in any gifts so we hope residents will make up the difference.
There are many needs in our greater community as well. Despite the homeless emergency, resources are still limited. The Low Income Housing Institute’s program of Walls for Good is a good organization to consider. Instead of building walls to keep folks out, they are asking that we help build walls to house homeless families at the Tiny House Villages. These temporary shelters are much safer than a tent under a highway, and residents are entitled to services to help them find jobs and permanent housing. The children are able to attend school regularly. In addition to walls, these villages are always in need of food and at this time of year, warm clothing. We have two tiny house villages close to us: one at Yesler & 18th and the other behind the Lutheran church at 22nd & Union. Donations made be made on their website at https://lihi.org/donate/.
Real Change is another to consider. Their paper is worth reading and the vendors are personable. Friendly exchanges with folks who buy the paper and the opportunity to earn money give hope. Warm socks are a welcome gift! Go to http://main.realchangenews.org/support for more information.
And food! Even those who have shelter find it difficult to purchase enough food to last a month. We have two food banks reasonably close: St. Mary’s on 20th and the Rainier Valley Food Bank. Leschi Market has a program of giving hams which they obtain at a lower price and use your donations to purchase and give to the Rainier Valley Food Bank. I once took a crate of apples to St. Mary’s before the food bank actually opened. A line was already forming, and standing in the rain waiting patiently were many elderly people, many with walkers and a few with wheelchairs. Having worked with homebound seniors in the past, I knew that their pensions did not meet their expenses throughout the entire month. Once the rent and utilities were paid, it was often touch and go. Do I refill this prescription or buy food? Food banks cover that end-of-month gap.
Our local Edward Jones office on Lakeside is accepting new toys for needy children—the Toys for Tots drive ends on December 13. The office is open 8:30am–5pm, Monday through Friday.
Thank you for thinking of others during the holidays when we are often stressed with our own family’s obligations. And thank you for VOTING! We forgot to urge folks to vote in the November issue as we had a few internal crises with the newsletter, but you’re a hero! You went out and did it anyway!
Be the change you want to see in the world…