November 16

Giving Season

Giving becomes even more crucial as the days grow shorter and the Northwest rain freezes to flakes. This holiday season, connect with organizations in the South Lake Union area to bring light and warmth into the lives of those in need.

Winter has arrived in Seattle. Neighborhood workers and passersby huddle beneath their coats as they attempt to escape the cold, stinging rain as they hurry along Westlake. Though temperatures drop, the much-maligned Seattle freeze seems to thaw, smiles and nods cracking through as the holidays approach. Residents are ready to help—and that’s exactly what many folks in this city need.

Seattle is home to philanthropic giants like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Seattle Foundation, and has earned a reputation for giving that arguably outshines many other cities across the country. According to the Urban Institute, Seattle is first in the nation when it comes to private foundation revenue per capita, largely thanks to the philanthropic technology wealth in the area.

Wedged in our city of giving sits South Lake Union, as thriving and innovative as ever. But like any other metropolitan hub, South Lake Union experiences needs and challenges that organizations in the neighborhood work tirelessly to solve. In the 2017 Point-In-Time Count, there were more than 11,000 individuals experiencing homelessness in King County. Data like this shows us that as office towers and residential complexes sprout up in the neighborhood, people are left behind on the ground, relying on the organizations in the area to offer them shelter, food, and resources.

Mary’s Place aims to empower homeless women, children, and families by offering shelter, resources, and nourishment in a safe space. Put together a fundraising team to help the organization raise a goal of $1.5 million by the end of December with the No Child Sleeps Outside crowdfunding campaign. Or heighten the holiday spirit in your workspace and in the lives of families in need by placing a Mary’s Place Giving Tree in your community space to donate gifts. And as degrees drop, families are in need of warm winter coats, hats, scarves, socks, and gloves. Help your community by holding a winter clothing drive for the organization in your office or apartment building. You can also volunteer by helping kids at Mary’s Place with their homework.

YouthCare provides services for homeless youth that includes outreach, emergency shelter, employment training, counseling, housing, and education. This season, YouthCare will be participating in the Winter Wishes program at U Village, where you can pull gift tags off the giving tree to grant holiday wishes for YouthCare youth starting Black Friday (November 24). Community members can also organize family, friends, or coworkers to host a drive to collect needed items or fulfill specific holiday wishes. Looking to get a jump on your New Year’s resolutions? Sign up to serve a meal in January.

Seattle Children’s mission is to provide hope, care, and cures to help children live the healthiest and most fulfilling lives possible. Unite with the hospital’s mission this season by donating new toys and personal items for patients and families using its official wish list on Amazon. Or plan a night out with a great cause and join the organization for its 77th Holiday Gala, then finish up your holiday shopping later in the month at the Bargain Boutiques Annual Toy Sale in the Ocean Café Dining Room, where all proceeds benefit the hospital.

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance works to ensure longer, richer lives for its patients by offering aid though a multi-disciplinary team of specialists. This season shop at Shine in South Lake Union, which carries an array of handcrafted, locally-sourced gifts and is owned and operated by SCCA. Purchases of jewelry, clothing and accessories help support family and patient services at SCCA.

PATH is a Seattle-based international health organization that works to save lives around the globe. This season, PATH says the most powerful way to help is through donations that help fund programs focusing on early childhood development, nutrition, vaccines, and more.

FareStart is a social service provider that aims to provide a solution to homelessness, joblessness, hunger, and poverty through multiple dining locations. Dine at one of its eateries (Maslow’s, Community Table, and Rise are all located in South Lake Union) and 100 percent of the profit will be reinvested in programs to recruit and train students and apprentices. You can also throw a party with a purpose by choosing FareStart Catering, or whip up a homemade feast using Farestart: 25 Years of Transformation, a cookbook celebrating the organization’s nonprofit journey. Proceeds from cookbook sales benefit Farestart.

Goodwill works toward connecting people with jobs, services, and skills by providing education and training to those who face barriers to economic opportunity. Donate used clothes, furniture, and home goods to the South Lake Union location of Goodwill, or sign up as a volunteer for special events, job training, or tutoring.

Immanuel Community Services provides community-based services like food, hygiene, and recovery. Donate a turkey in time for Thanksgiving so that families in need can enjoy a holiday feast, then skip Black Friday this year and instead partake in Giving Tuesday—the non-profit equivalent to the shopping extravaganza that provides a platform for donating to the organization. Last but not least, ICS is always looking for volunteers to help distribute food to families from their food bank.

In Addition

Amazon provides an option to donate a percentage of your purchase to an organization of your choice with AmazonSmile.

No time to spare this season? Donate your spare change to Food Lifeline at the SLU Whole Foods register during checkout.

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center utilizes the skills of humanitarians and scientists to create teams that prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Help the cause this year by offering a donation to the organization.

Story by Tess Owen and Photographs by Carlton Canary, Tim Matsui, and Rachel Coward.

At The Center

SLU is the geographical center of Seattle