Amazon Holiday Engagement Opportunities!

No Child Sleeps Outside crowdfunding campaign – get a team together to help us raise $1.5 million in 45 days! We CAN bring more children and families inside to warmth, safety and stability this winter! Need help setting up your team page? email

Help us fill the Santa Store!  Santa needs your help! His list of Mary’s Place families has doubled this year. Boys, girls, moms, and dads who have left behind homes and traditions are hoping to find joy and peace this holiday season. And there is something you can do to help! Our Holiday Wish List is here – you can shop and drop in bins on the Amazon campus, or ship directly to Mary’s Place! Gifts should arrive by Dec 16 to make it in time for our Holly Jolly Party for Mary’s Place families!

Winter Clothing Drive: the weather is cold and our families and children need warm winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves – and socks! You can help by holding a Winter Clothing Drive for Mary’s Place!

Decorate a shelter for the holidays! We need supplies and/or teams to bring the Merry and Bright to our area shelters.

A Home for the Holidays: Enjoy a night out with the Amazon Symphony Orchestra and guests a cappella group Vocally Self-Critical at A Home for the Holidays, a benefit for Mary’s Place on December 14 at the Amazon Event Center. Search “Mary’s Place Pops” on Amazon Wiki for info! More details:

Brooks Fun Run: Get a team and put on your best Holly Jolly gear and join us for this fun 3-mile Holiday Fun Run! Saturday, December 9 starting at 9am. We’ll finish the run with raffle prizes, burgers from Dick’s Drive-In, and Brooks is donating 10% of sales to the No Child Sleeps Outside campaign from Dec 3 through Dec 10. Register here!

We always welcome volunteers and our kids could use help with homework! Email if you would like to help!

Nick’s Story

To my friends in Seattle who drink coffee, and let’s be honest it’s pretty much all of us I just want you to please take a second and give the article a read and maybe watch the video and get a little closer look at some of our neighbors.

These people aren’t always the bad, the lazy, or the uneducated sometimes it’s real genuine people who have come up against tragedy in life. It can range from a building being sold to a property developer, a owner raising rent because the new tech employee can afford the new price and you can’t but all that matters to the landlord is money in the pocket, or as it was 3 years ago for my family a medical tragedy.

Some of you may not realize this but a little over 3 years ago I had spinal fusion surgery after waking up paralysed in the middle of the night. During this time my family became homeless because my wife had to take medical leave to take care of our two boys, once that was over she sadly had no job to go back to and we ended up loosing our apartment. They lived out of our car, low cost hotels, and friends couches while I was in rehab learning to walk again. Sadly we all know the hospitality of friends can’t last forever, eventually with the promise of a job we moved to Seattle to find even worse housing obstacles then Albuquerque had. Once here the cycle started again and I ended up back in the hospital but thanks to the love and compassion of Mary’s Place when I came out of the hospital this go round we had a stable place to live together as a family.

Mary’s Place has been a blessing to our family in so many ways, they gave us a place to live and to heal when we needed it the most and during that time we met new friends and learned about ourselves and the human spirit. Thanks to them we were able to spend time together as a family in a safe environment while taking advantage of all the resources they offer to find permanent stable housing.

Mary’s Place is a place of stability for my family even today as my beautiful wife Charlotte Wheelock has taken the opportunity she earned through hard work and dedication and run with it as she is now Mary’s Place Housing and Wellness coordinator. She now gets to give what was once given to us…. HOPE.

So please if you can once December rolls around give the loose change (or more!) at your local King County Starbucks to Mary’s Place. After that maybe give your time and volunteer as they can always use tutors or some one to play with the children so parents can have a precious 5 minutes to themselves.

Thank you for a moment of your time and Happy Holidays,


2016 Steve Hauschka Celebrity Ping Pong Tournament

Come join Mary’s Place and the Seattle Seahawks for the Second Annual Steve Hauschka Celebrity Ping Pong Tournament, a fundraiser for Mary’s Place and the No Child Sleeps Outside campaign.

Have you ever wondered if you had the skills to take on the Seattle Seahawks best ping pong player in an elite single game elimination tournament? 12 lucky VIP Ping Pong players will have their chance to battle Seahawks’ Kicker Steve Hauschka for Ping-Pong supremacy alongside celebrity guests December 5 from 6-9 PM in the CenturyLink Field West Club Lounge. 710 ESPN will broadcast the Gee Scott Show live from the tournament!

OR attend and if you’re feeling up to it challenge a celebrity to an exhibition match for $100 or play doubles with a friend for $150.

Get your ticket soon as we expect to sell out! This event is All-Ages but a ticket is required for entry for anyone over age 2.

–General Admission: $25
–Mary’s Place Champion: $75 (Includes 2 drink tickets & 2 Raffle Tickets) – only 50 of these tickets available!
— VIP Access: $500 (Mingle in the VIP area – no tournament play) – only 10 of these tickets available!
–12 VIP Tournament Players: $1,200

Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to prove your Ping Pong skills against Seattle’s celebrity best!

All proceeds will go to Mary’s Place as we work to make sure No Child Sleeps Outside in Seattle!

Over 500 families sleep outside in Seattle every night, mostly single mothers with children, sleeping in places that are cold, wet, and unsafe.

Please join our incredible supporters the Seattle Seahawks, Dick’s Drive In Restaurant, Amazon, Vulcan Inc., Nordstrom, Starbucks, Lennar Multifamily Communities, Bank of America, Zoots, HomeStreet Bank, and others to help Mary’s Place raise over $500,000 to open additional crisis-response winter night shelter and bring even more families inside at night.

With your help, we can make our goal of moving ALL families out of encampments, doorways and cars and into warmth, safety and stability a reality.

Do you have room for a Giving Tree?

Holidays are a busy time! Amidst the bustle of wrapping gifts, making travel plans, and planning the perfect holiday meal, there are two things you can do to help homeless women, children and families experience the joy of the season, too.

You can help give homeless moms, dads, grandparents and children the joy of giving and receiving by shopping for their families at the Mary’s Place Santa Store! We need to stock the shelves with new toys for the children and grandchildren of homeless women and gifts for children to give to their parents.

Can you place a Giving Tree in your office, apartment building or place of worship? We’ll provide you hand-made shoe, toy, and gift tags to hang on your tree.

Toy tags have the name of a toy that a child at Mary’s Place has asked to receive from Santa. Gifts will be given to homeless parents and grandparents so they, in turn, can give them to their children and share in the joy of giving this holiday season.

Gift tags are for items that will be placed in our Santa Store where children will shop for presents for their parents. Elves will help them shop and wrap at our Holly Jolly party!

Shoe tags request a $20 donation so a gift certificate for shoes can be bought by us on your behalf.

At the Holly Jolly Party we will give every guest (all 3,000!) a gift card for a new pair of shoes. Shoe tags request a donation of $20 that lets us purchase discounted gift cards to buy shoes for men, women, and children.

If you are interested in hosting a Giving Tree, contact Emily at and we’ll get Giving Tags to you. Thanks to wonderful friends like you, the women, parents and children of Mary’s Place will know the joy of the holidays!

Last week’s news about homelessness

Last week (Sept 7) the City of Seattle released summaries of two reports from homelessness consultants that make recommendations for how the city and county address this crisis in our community. Some of the key findings and recommendations, include:

  • focus on programs that give people short-term help to return to permanent housing faster, rather than transitional housing
  • provide 24×7 facilities like the San Francisco Navigation Center model that lowers barriers to shelter and offers services that are tailored to the needs of homeless individuals and families
  • institute a more efficient process for assessing the needs of people without homes and determining what help they should receive

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced the “Pathways Home” plan that addresses many of the report recommendations and includes a goal to move 500 unsheltered families indoors by the end of 2017. We are excited and hopeful for these changes, and grateful for the resources and focus that our community is committing to solving this crisis.

As the largest provider in the region, Mary’s Place has a proven track record of success. We have been working with families experiencing homelessness since 1999. We opened our first emergency night shelter in 2010 to bring families inside, together, to warmth and safety at night.

051016_023-bvhToday, with your help, Mary’s Place operates six crisis response family shelters that provide refuge and community for 400 family members experiencing homelessness. Last week, we got 133 school-age children enrolled and off to school! We do this in loaned buildings awaiting development, for $14 dollars per person/per night. Our intent is to make a stay at Mary’s Place as short as possible. Within 48 hours of arriving at a Mary’s Place shelter, our advocates are working with families to address barriers and develop housing and financial stability plans.

We doubled our capacity in 2016 and still our shelters are full nearly every night, except when we have been constrained by bureaucratic intake policies. We were pleased to be able to work with the county to change that process and ensure that no bed remains empty when there are children sleeping outside.

We know that wraparound services are key to moving families forward. Our Family Center in north Seattle is a 24×7 shelter for 100 family members that provides beds, meals, showers, and laundry, as well as individualized counseling and services from Mary’s Place Housing & Wellness Advocates and access to more than 40 co-located service providers.

We support the goal of reducing barriers to shelter. Our shelters accommodate all types of family configurations, including juliassingle moms, single dads, extended families, and now families with pets – allowing families to stay together during this challenging time in their lives. But we also take the safety of our families and children very seriously. Providing a safe haven for children, domestic violence survivors, and vulnerable families is our priority.

As a partner with the city and county on the goal of ending family homelessness, we have made it a mission that NO CHILD SLEEPS OUTSIDE and continue to work and build until that is achieved, but it will require all of us working together. We are proud to partner with leading companies and organizations in our community to provide a roof, basics, and safety to vulnerable parents with kids each night.

You are what makes this possible! We could not continue to expand, to open more shelters, and to bring in more families without your faith and support. Watch for exciting news from Mary’s Place in the next few months about our plans, and how you can help!

If you have any questions, I hope that you will contact me or Mary’s Place Executive Director, Marty Hartman. I welcome your ideas and feedback.






JJ McKay, Board Chair
Mary’s Place




The first step on the journey out of homelessness

Today we join media outlets, community groups, advocacy organizations, elected officials, and service providers in Seattle to shine a light on homelessness, examining causes and possible solutions at #seahomeless.

Homelessness continues to grow in our region as people struggle to make ends meet and deal with personal and family needs. One of the biggest changes that we have seen at Mary’s Place over the last several years is the increase in the number of families with children experiencing homelessness.

Mary’s Place began as a day center for homeless single women, to provide them safety, community, and resources. But it became too heartbreaking to turn way mothers with children at the end of the day, knowing they had nowhere to go. Today, we operate two day centers and six crisis response night shelters for homeless families.

Mary’s Place is standing in the gap providing shelter, resources, and hope from the time a family first becomes homeless, until they move into stable housing. They bring families inside at night to keep them safe, warm and together – including extended family members, grandma and grandpa, and family pets. They provide hot meals, laundry facilities, showers, and community.

Our goal is to make it easy to access shelter immediately, and to minimize the time a family spends there before moving on to permanent housing. Mary’s Place staff is constantly innovating and incorporating best practices to make our system more efficient and effective. Every family at one of our shelters is assigned a Housing & Wellness Advocate who works with them to help navigate the system, locate resources, and overcome obstacles. The work to address barriers to employment and housing begins immediately – getting copies of birth certificates and social security cards, helping with resumes and job applications, resolving eviction debts, understanding and working to clear criminal history, addressing mental health issues, teaching financial skills, providing access to health care, securing childcare, and furthering education. With this help and support, families are ready to move successfully into housing as soon as it becomes available.

The Mary’s Place Family Center provides 24×7 shelter, co-located with local service providers to provide comprehensive services and access to resources. Over 20 different organizations come on-site to provide their services in an effort to increase accessibility and minimize travel time and inconvenience for homeless families.

We can’t do this alone, we need the community to come alongside and help to help solve the problem of family homelessness. We are grateful to the many local businesses and congregations who provide teams of volunteers, funding, and vacant buildings for temporary shelters; real estate professionals who contact landlords and help with housing applications; foundations who fund internship programs, medical services, and children’s programs; and individuals who bring meals, share belongings, help with resumes, and read books to children.

The Mary’s Place model is cost effective, efficient, and caring. Last year we provided 60,000 overnight stays at a cost of $14 per bed night. But it’s not enough; families are still sleeping outside in cars, tents, or trailers waiting for a referral to shelter. We must increase easily accessible shelter and ensure that no child sleeps outside in our community tonight.

Crisis response shelter is a critical piece of a comprehensive solution to ending homelessness. At Mary’s Place, we are empowering families experiencing homelessness to rebuild their lives by providing safety, resources, and hope. The time that families spend in shelter at Mary’s Place, on average about 90 days, serves as a launching point, preparing them to move forward successfully to permanent housing. It’s a winning model that we hope to replicate in partnership with cities across the county.



Community & Cocktails

Is “work hard, play hard” your personal mantra?
Are you looking for a fun, after work activity and some time to socialize?
Do you want to bank some Karma and meet new friends?

Announcing Mary’s Place Young Professionals Community & Cocktails!

When?  Every Thursday night

What?  Volunteering at the Mary’s Place Guest Rooms shelter at 8th & Blanchard from 5-6:30 p.m. We’ll help kids with homework, play with toddlers, and help the staff with dinner. Then, at 6:30 p.m. we’ll walk to a local bar for no-host cocktails with Mary’s Place staff and other volunteers.

How?  Track us on twitter, facebook, and instagram at #mpyp. Email if you can make it, and feel free to bring friends, coworkers, family!

Original Voices

Julie Gardner has been leading a weekly writing workshop at Mary’s Place for over five years. Workshop participants range in age from young adult to senior and include women who are currently homeless and some who have found their forever homes but come back for class, and to share their stories of trauma, abuse, addiction, job loss… but also of empowerment, courage, and appreciation. The workshops and writings help the women work through issues, strengthen self-esteem, and find renewed hope.

From the workshops, Julie has compiled and edited 126 writings, along with photos and images, in a recently published book, Original Voices: Homeless and Formerly Homeless Women’s Writings. The book includes a foreword by Pat Schneider, author and founder of Amherst Writers & Artists. The book, a labor of love, is unique and inspiring. Contributing writer, Kristine Bagby, read a poem by Jennifer Hamilton, below, at our Spring Luncheon in early May. The book is currently available at Amazon for $14.00, proceeds from the book go to support Mary’s Place shelters and programming. You can follow this story at the Original Voices facebook page!

For So Long I Did Not Have a Voice Jennifer Hamilton

For so long I did not have a voice
Trampled and broken I was silenced
Like so many of us.
It may seem like a small thing but,
You heard.
I feel so grateful
From my depths I thank you.


Marty’s comments from our Spring Luncheon

Executive Director Marty Hartman made these comments at our Spring Benefit Luncheon on May 3.

We have been meeting at this luncheon for over eight years, and this year is the biggest year yet for Mary’s Place…our crazy dream that no child should sleep outside is starting to become a reality!

Our Mary’s Place Family Center became a reality in June of 2015. Mayor Murray and the City of Seattle allowed us to use an empty city building to bring hundreds of families inside to receive services and resources, with 22 non-profits all at one location.

It is hard to remember that we got in the business of sheltering moms and children just five ago. It seemed that no cared, and no one else was helping. The tears on faces was too much to endure. We sat down and asked moms how we could help. They told us they wanted a safe place, they wanted help, and they wanted a community that lifted them up. We listened, and got to work. Now, at our Family Center, moms and dads attend  GED, ESL, parenting and computer classes, they access medical care, get assistance with resumes, and online job searches and house hunting, and they find family support with mental health counseling.

While parents work and learn, children are at school or engaged in enrichment activities including Power Half Hour homework, dress up, video games, music classes, poetry writing at our on-site Kids Club, a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club.

And if that wasn’t dreaming big enough, our Amazon family came to our aid to double our capacity of shelter beds by giving us a new home…and does it sparkle! They have provided all the tenant improvements, the utilities, stocked our shelves with diapers, wipes, medicine, cereal, blankets, sheets, and a whole lotta love!  Their employees are sitting beside us, helping us write resumes and call landlords, and tutoring our children. Most importantly, they invited us in, made us feel welcomed and safe and reminded us we are not alone. Those are gifts that last a lifetime!

We were still pinching ourselves and realizing all these gifts were not a dream when I got an email from Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon. He said he wanted to do more…he wanted to do something personally to help homeless families. He reached out with a one day match challenge. He will personally match all donations received today up to a total of one million dollars. With your help we could raise $2 million today! That is even a BIGGER DREAM come true!

You might be asking…why Mary’s Place? Why homeless families?

To us it is simple because our model is simple…partner with anyone and everyone who will help homeless women and families move forward faster. We know we are so much better together. We know everyone has something to offer. We know homeless families will not make it out of homelessness by themselves. So it is with our 3,510 volunteers, 164 corporate partners, 64 foundations, 125 nonprofits, 113 congregations, 4,759 donors and one gracious city that we operate our two day centers and six overnight shelters. Together, we are able to provide an address and phone for those who don’t have one, restore dignity through showers and laundry services, and offer nourishment with healthy food. We provided over 198,000 meals last year. The only thing that outpaces that is the number of diapers, wipes, and hugs we give away! Together, we created 222 resumes, turned in 2,813 housing applications and moved 148 families into more stable housing. We had 60,000 overnight stays last year and are on pace to provide over 100,000 shelter nights this year. If our calculations are right, that would almost double the number of sweet dreams!

Our staff work to get a child get connected to school, listen to the pain of a mom who has left everything behind, including her self-esteem, hug a child who has had to give up their pet to be in shelter, sit beside teens who are so embarrassed to be told by their peers that they smell, and remind dads that they are not failures for seeking shelter…rather they are heroes for asking for help.

Most importantly, our model empowers families to take charge of their situation. At Mary’s Place, we know the prescription for increasing self-esteem is asking for your needs to be met. We constantly remind our families their need to be loved is the most beautiful, wonderful and strongest part of who they are. It’s how they begin to heal and create lasting change.

At $14 per bed night we have a cost effective and efficient model, yet each night our hearts ache over the kids who go to sleep next to parents in cars, doorways, and under bushes. We must do more.

Laughter is common at Mary’s Place, you hear it often and loud. But I know in my heart that hurt and fear is there also. FEAR an abusive ex might return and hurt the children, FEAR of what to do with a special needs child because you need to work, so you can have your own roof, but also need to watch over your child, FEAR of what the doctor might tell you. Sometimes, all we can offer is a hug and love…sometimes it is enough…and sometimes it falls short. But we keep giving hugs.

We are meeting more and more families who have children with life threatening illnesses. They are seeking refuge in their cars in hospital parking lots because they have sacrificed everything, including their homes, to give their children a chance to live. We don’t believe this is right. Where is the dignity for that mom, having to watch her child get sick by the side of the car where they live after chemo, and then try to rest until the next wave of nausea. Providing safe shelter for all homeless families is our BIG dream…and today we want to share our plans for Popsicle Place.

Popsicle Place will be a home for children experiencing life threatening illnesses. Families can stay in this “home for now” while their children wait for chemo treatments, lab results, or to recover. We will partner with Ladybug House, Dr Brian Cartin from Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Dr Ben Danielson from Odessa Brown Clinic. We know about the circle of life…last year at least six homeless children with cancer lost the fight while living in a car…where is the dignity? Where is the peace for those parents? Mary’s Place will provide that, and we are committed to opening at least two residences to stop this tragedy.

At Mary’s Place we’ve have had a baby boom! Everyday we talk to moms with newborns struggling to find a shelter bed so they can stay together.  So we are also announcing Mary’s Place Baby’s Best Start! Thanks to our friends at Vulcan, we now have a shelter for homeless moms and newborns in South Lake Union. It’s a smaller shelter where babies can thrive without being exposed to lots of people. Our homeless moms will receive what other moms in America take as a given…six weeks to bond with their baby, and get adequate sleep, nutrition and support from the community around them.

Both of these programs will be under the direction of our incredible nurse, Kelly Brewer, and our volunteer doctor, advocate and friend, Dr. Joe Sherman. We love them!

If you thinking that is so great, but it’s not enough! You are right.

I wish you could witness the energy, commitment, and passion of our board. Now we can see a day when kids are SAFE AND SECURE. Together we will work until every child is inside at night. Our goal is 750 beds in three years, 1,000 beds in five years. This will help solve the problem but we can only do this with you by our side. Please say that you will not only join us, but invite others. That would be a dream come true!

We appreciate you and know we wouldn’t accomplish our crazy dreams without you!