December 22, 2015
For many homeless individuals and families, the holidays bring feelings of loneliness, isolation, depression and sadness. No place to go, no invitations to dinner, no holiday cards in the mail and no gifts under the tree. Not at Mary’s Place!
On Monday, December 21st, we hosted our annual Holly Jolly Holiday Party for the homeless individuals and families in Seattle. The party, which was held at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, drew over 1,600 guests who visited the Santa Store, where kids selected and wrapped gifts for parents, and parents and grandparents selected gifts to give their children; carolers caroled; a DJ spun holiday music; kids (and adults) got pictures with Santa; children visited the Winter Wonderland Wardrobe and got new holiday outfits’ and, as requested by Mary’s Place families, there was lots of pizza, candy, and cookies (over 400 LARGE pizzas). And every guest received a gift card for a new pair of shoes!
Over 600 volunteers made the day possible, including special guest, Washington state’s First Lady, Trudi Inslee! More than 40 companies, organizations, and congregations sent volunteer teams to help with the party, including: PEMCO, Bank of America, Edelman Worldwide, evo, KPMG, Apple, The Gates Foundation, OAC Services, Parker Services, Vulcan, Inc., USI Kibble Prentice, Regence, Russell Investments, and Columbia Hospitality. Corporate sponsors for the party include Parker Services, OAC, and Bank of America.
Mary’s Place favorite, Sumiko, worked all year long to create hand made gift tags. This year she made over 6,000 gift and shoe tags for requested gifts for parents and children, and for community-funded shoe gift cards. More than 118 companies, organizations, and congregations (including Mayor Ed Murray’s office at the City of Seattle) set up Giving Trees to purchase items on gift tags for the party. Those organizations and individuals provided more than 8,000 gifts (over 2,000 toys) to fill the Santa Store!