The site was Qwest Field on April 8th and a number of Bluebills volunteered. The day before the Day of Caring we assembled 1500 hygiene kits, sorted donated clothes into bins of socks, undergarments, dress clothes, winter coats, blankets, etc. which we brought with us. Our members donated approximately $300 of socks, blankets and supplies.
Qwest Field was set up with booths to provide information on employment opportunities, training, education, legal assistance and voter registration.
That morning about 900 homeless were greeted with a hot meal. Some 400 volunteers assisted the attendees in finding the services they desired -- from free health service, haircuts, counseling, employment interviews, to voice mail accounts and more. Each participant received a hygiene kit and some much needed clothes together with a backpack for carrying everything.
It was an awesome experience for the homeless and the volunteers.
The 900 attendees represented only about 10 percent of the homeless One-Night-Count taken last January. The One-Night-Count is a point-in-time census of homeless found 8,500 in King County. Of that count they found 2,630 people surviving outside without shelter. (Some of our Bluebills also participated in the January count, where in the early morning hours, they found people on the street, under bridges, freeway underpasses, sleeping in cars and riding the bus all night.)
Here is a geographical breakdown of the homeless in King County :
15% South King County
6% Outside of King County
5% East King County
4% North King County
15% Outside of Washington State
36% Single adult men
13% Single adult women
50% Families with children
The next Community Resource Exchange is scheduled for September 2009. The United Way is asking for our help again. M.J. Sanker is the project leader on this worthwhile effort.
Other sponsors for this program include Microsoft, Virginia Mason and Seattle Seahawks. Additional information on this volunteer opportunity will be forthcoming in the near future.
Your service will provide you with the satisfaction of helping connect homeless people with immediate access to the service and resources they need. It is a step in the Mayor’s goal to End Homelessness in King County. But most of all, you will have a profound personal experience. That’s what volunteering is all about and it’s another one of the good things that Bluebills membership provides.