Homeless in Seattle Burien Youth Find a Way to Help

December 01, 2005 | Melanie Felton

Homeless at Christmas. What could be worse? To be homeless and a child at Christmas. The Burien Church youth group decided to help make a difference by participating in Holiday Stockings for Homeless Children, a strictly volunteer-operated organization, which since 1996 has been filling stockings for homeless youth, birth through age 17, throughout the Seattle area.

Two years ago, I saw a small ad asking for volunteers to come help stuff stockings for homeless children. Seven of our teens, almost our whole youth group, decided to go. Did they want to do it again? The answer was unanimous—YES!

Last year we collected gloves, small games and toys to contribute to the effort. We joined others from around the Puget Sound at the Coast Guard base gym just in time for the 10 a.m. start. After some instructions and a prayer, everyone was off to grab stockings and search for gifts a 15-year-old boy or a 2-year-old girl would want for Christmas.

In about an hour, almost 2,000 stockings had been crammed with candy, toys, toothbrushes, gloves and other things for homeless youth. Dennis Tefts, a youth leader, and some of the youth delivered stockings to one shelter on their way back to church and still got there before the sermon ended. As one of more than 30 shelter captains, I dropped a batch off at a homeless childcare on the following Wednesday.

For more information on Holiday Stockings for Homeless Children, please go to www.holidaystockings.org.