As the COVID-19 crisis continues, this year many homeless service providers are asking for gift cards and item donations to help support their clients this holiday season, and some in-person volunteering opportunities are returning as well.
If you’re unsure of what actions are most needed, reach out to your favorite organization and ask what could be the most useful way to help.
If you’re looking to give back this holiday season, here’s a list of what some homeless service providers working in the region could use:
Compass Housing Alliance
This holiday season, Compass Housing Alliance, which provides affordable housing and homeless emergency services, is asking for gift card donations for its family programs. It is asking for gift cards to Walmart, Amazon or Fred Meyer in increments of $25.
“Parents really enjoy being able to pick out the gifts their children are most excited about themselves, so we have shifted all of our family giving programs to this model,” said Jennifer Marquette, community engagement manager for Compass Housing Alliance.
To support Compass’ 24-hour enhanced emergency shelters, it is asking for donations of slippers, hot/cold thermoses and women’s flannel pajama sets.
To learn more about holiday giving and volunteering opportunities, visit www.compasshousingalliance.org/holiday If you have any questions or are looking to mail donated items, contact Jennifer Marquette at email@example.com or at 206-719-9137.
The Downtown Emergency Service Center, one of Seattle’s largest homeless service providers, is running a holiday gift campaign to provide a gift to every client living in one of its permanent supportive housing locations. To learn more about the gift campaign go to https://st.news/DESCgiving.
You can also help someone who is moving into DESC’s new permanent supportive housing site, called Hobson Place, by sponsoring an apartment, which helps to purchase bedding, cleaning supplies and housewares. Or you can adopt an apartment which involves sponsoring the supplies for an apartment and helping to set it up. To learn more about sponsoring an apartment go to https://st.news/HobsonPlace.
Mary’s Place, which supports families experiencing homelessness, just kicked off its No Child Sleeps Outside fundraising campaign, which helps to fund its emergency family shelters. To learn more about the campaign, go to nochildsleepsoutside.org.
You can also participate in its Giving Tree Tags program by either purchasing gift cards in $25 increments to help a family shop for holiday gifts or by purchasing unwrapped presents. Mary’s Place recommends gift cards from major retailers including Target, Amazon, Walmart and Fred Meyer, and it has a list of gift items to purchase on its Amazon wish list or from Target.
To learn more about the Giving Tree Tags program, go to www.marysplaceseattle.org/givingtreetags. And to learn more about Mary’s Place volunteering opportunities go to https://www.marysplaceseattle.org/volunteer.
Plymouth Housing, a large permanent supportive housing provider in the region, is looking for household items, clothing and toiletries to support its residents. It is looking for cleaning supplies, such as all-purpose cleaners, bleach cleaners, mops, floor-cleaning solution, dish soap and laundry detergent.
It’s also asking for toiletries, including: bars of soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, dental floss, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, lotion and toilet paper.
Plymouth Housing is also asking for clothing donations, which can include: hoodies (size large and above), T-shirts (size large and up), socks (all sizes), underwear (men’s and women’s, all sizes), raincoats and ponchos, winter hats, winter gloves and any other winter/waterproof apparel.
Anyone interested in donating supplies should contact Cathy Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate a time to drop off donations.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is in need of many outerwear garments and supplies to help people try to stay warm and dry during the winter months. Donation items in great need include: hats, scarves, warm socks, gloves, coats, winter boots, hand warmers, umbrellas, rain ponchos, backpacks and blankets.
Other clothing items includes: sweatpants, underwear, hoodies and sweatshirts, thermal long underwear and pajamas.
“The need is even greater this year for families who are homeless, facing eviction or living with food insecurity every day of the year,” said Lt. Col. Cindy Foley, commander of the Salvation Army’s Northwest Division.
To set up a donation with the Salvation Army, contact Lisa Borders at 206-459-6351 or email@example.com.
YMCA of Greater Seattle
There are two ways to support the YMCA of Greater Seattle this holiday season.
First, the organization is asking people to donate to its gift card drive. This drive helps to support families and individuals living in the YMCA’s housing and foster care programs. Suggested retailers for gift cards include: Visa, Uber, Lyft, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Amazon, any gas station, Ross and TJ Maxx.
Gift cards can be mailed to YMCA Social Impact Center ATTN: Rebecca Kuhn, 2100 24th Ave. S., Suite 250, Seattle, WA, 98144.
Secondly, donors can help out by adopting a family’s holiday wish list from the Y Social Impact Center’s violence prevention, housing, and/or permanency programs.
To be matched with a family, contact Rebecca Kuhn, the community engagement director for the YMCA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YouthCare, which helps young people experiencing homelessness, has assembled a list of items its clients are most in need of this holiday season. For all of the items listed below, YouthCare asks that only new or mostly new items are donated. For all clothing requested below, adult sizes range from XS-XXXL.
Donation items YouthCare is asking for include: backpacks, headphones, thermal underwear, sleeping bags (32 degrees and below), blankets, sweatshirts, sweatpants, hoodies, rainproof jackets and pants, warm jackets, shoes, plus-size clothing, nonperishable food items, underwear, bras, gift cards and battery packs.
YouthCare is also asking for hygiene products such as deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and Black haircare products. It’s also in need of household goods, such as bedding.
Donations can be dropped off at 2500 NE 54th Street, Seattle, WA, 98105. It is preferred to reserve a drop-off time by going to http://vhub.at/Deliver or calling Amanda Ayers-Ruiz at 206-499-6979.
Community members interested in giving back can sign up to adopt a family for the holidays through the YWCA. Anyone interested can get involved by emailing email@example.com.
If you are interested in supporting YWCA families this year, they are asking for gift card donations. Depending on the family size, the YWCA is asking that donors provide a $100 gift card for groceries for the head of the household and two $50 gift cards for each child to the stores they’ve selected.
To learn more about the Adopt-A-Family program, visit https://bit.ly/YW-adopt.