Photo by Rahima Baluch
United Way of King Country aims “to bring caring people together to give, volunteer and take action to help people in need and solve our community’s toughest challenges,” according to their website.
They have a variety of programs targeted at solving racial equity, helping students graduate, fighting homelessness and breaking the cycle of poverty. People can attend community events, volunteer or donate money to support them.
Students have the opportunity to participate in extended volunteer opportunities to help guide others or receive the training themselves. They include free tax preparation or shorter commitments like Holiday Adopt-A-Family distribution day. United Way is sponsored by Microsoft, Seattle Human Services and Premera Blue Cross.
Hopelink is the largest nonprofit organization in this area, serving the homeless, low-income individuals, families and people with disabilities since 1971. They have food banks in Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline and Sno-Valley (Carnation) where they accept shelf stable items such as rice and beans.
People can also contribute monetarily or donate hygiene items, baby supplies, books etc. During the holiday season, students have the opportunity to start a gift, food or clothing drive for Hopelink’s annual Lend a Hoping Hand campaign or volunteer in Hopelink’s Holiday Gift Rooms. Volunteers will help clients pick gifts and keep shelves stocked.
Since 1999, Mary’s Place has provided shelter to hundreds of homeless women and families in King County.
In terms of donations, they accept a range of products from towels and blankets to medicine and personal hygiene products. People can drop off items to the centers in Kenmore or Seattle. For sending items directly, there is an Amazon wishlist that can be accessed on their website. There’s also a fundraising campaign going on currently called No Child Sleeps Outside.
Students have many volunteer opportunities available to them; they can play with the kids, plan birthday parties or make hair care kits.