The coronavirus has limited how Seattle-area residents can donate supplies or volunteer with homeless service agencies this holiday season.
Reach out to your favorite organization and ask what could be the most useful way to help.
If you’re looking to give back but are not sure where to start, here’s a list of what some homeless service providers working in the region are in need of this holiday season:
Catholic Community Services
For the homeless services programming Catholic Community Services provides in King County, it is in need of winter gear including brand new winter jackets, hats and gloves. It’s also in need of diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, face masks and hygiene supplies. To set up a donation drop-off for King County, email email@example.com.
Catholic Community Services’ family day center in Tacoma is in need of hygiene supplies including shampoo, body wash, towels, toothbrushes (both regular and travel sized), razors, feminine hygiene products, shaving cream and washcloths. It also needs blankets and children’s coloring and activity books. To set up a donation drop-off in Tacoma, email Cindy McNabb at CindyMc@ccsww.org.
Compass Housing Alliance
Compass Housing Alliance, an affordable housing and homeless emergency services provider, is asking for gift cards for the families and children currently enrolled in its programs. The agency is asking for donated gift cards in $25 increments for Fred Meyer, Target or Amazon.
Other helpful in-kind donations include slippers, robes and thermoses for shelter clients. Socks and hygiene supplies are always in demand at its hygiene center. And Compass is still accepting donated holiday meals, which will be delivered this year rather than shared in-person due to COVID-19.
To learn more about Compass Housing Alliance’s holiday programs, or to see a full list for in-kind donations, contact Jennifer Marquette, community engagement manager for Compass Housing Alliance, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-719-9137.
Mary’s Place, which serves families experiencing homelessness in the region, is collecting gift cards and unwrapped physical gifts this year for families. You can mail a $25 gift card from your favorite grocery store to help families have a holiday meal or from your favorite retail store to help them purchase their own holiday gifts. Send gift cards to P.O. Box 1711, Seattle, WA, 98111.
You can also holiday shop for families using Mary’s Place wish lists at Amazon and Target or by dropping off unwrapped gifts to its donation center at 9 S. Nevada St., Seattle. Physical gifts that are dropped off in person must be received by Dec. 11. To learn more visit www.marysplaceseattle.org/givingtreetags.
New Horizons, which provides services to young people who are homeless, is currently in need of cold-weather clothing donations: jackets, hats, gloves and socks. It is particularly in need of men’s and women’s sizes large and extra large.
In addition, individually packaged snacks are helpful and always in need. To deliver in-kind donations to New Horizons, email volunteer manager Kim Bachrach at KimV@Nhmin.org to set up a drop-off time.
The Salvation Army
This year, The Salvation Army has set up its Angel Tree program, which buys gifts for children in need, online to make it easier to access. Donors can select their community to support — Everett, for example — which leads to a list of children in that particular area and includes the specific holiday items on their wish list.
Then, donors can purchase the gift and deliver it directly to the respective Salvation Army location in their giving area or have the gift shipped via online shopping. To learn more of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, visit https://salarmy.us/AngelTreeNW.
Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
To support the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle’s homeless outreach work, it is asking for cold-weather gear to help people living outside including hats, gloves, hand and foot warmers, coats and flashlights. For its outreach work, the Urban League said it is always in need of socks, tents, sleeping bags, feminine hygiene supplies and Black hair care products.
In addition, the Urban League is looking for holiday gifts, such as gift cards or physical, unwrapped presents, for children ages 11-18 who are enrolled in one of their programs. It’s also asking for grocery gift card donations to help ensure families can have a holiday meal. For more information, contact Ashley Pugh at email@example.com.
YMCA of Greater Seattle
The YMCA of Greater Seattle is in need of in-person volunteer groups to participate in its giving tree program that buys holiday gifts for people at specific Y-owned housing facilities, including transitional and permanent supportive housing sites and shelters.
You can also adopt a family’s holiday wish list to support young people enrolled in the Y’s Justice Systems Diversion program, which supports at-risk youth. To learn more about volunteering opportunities and its giving tree program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
YouthCare, a service provider for homeless youth, is looking for not only things that its clients need, but also things that could brighten their holiday season. You can purchase a holiday gift for a young person experiencing homelessness by visiting YouthCare’s Amazon wish list.
To help collect things people need, like hygiene supplies and warm clothing, you can host a donation drive. This inquiry form for hosting a drive will help you get started. You can also sign up to provide a meal to people living in shelter by signing up for YouthCare’s Meal Calendar. To learn more about ways to volunteer, visit https://youthcare.org/ways-to-volunteer/.
This year, due to COVID-19, the YWCA is asking for participants in its Adopt-A-Family gift drive to donate gift cards from individual’s stores of choice versus physical gifts.
In addition, there are some limited in-person volunteer opportunities available. On Dec. 6 and 7, the YWCA will be collecting gift cards from donors through a drive-thru-style drop-off in Seattle’s Central District and will need volunteers to help with that effort.
Additionally, in-kind donations are currently being accepted for its holiday meal at Angeline’s Day Center for women. The YWCA is asking for decorations, cookies, festive paper plates, cups and napkins. For more information about any of these opportunities, contact Nichelle Hilton, YWCA resource coordinator, at 206-375-1496 or email@example.com.