Kula’s Warm Clothing Drive to Benefit Homeless Youth

It’s hard to know just how many homeless youth are living in King County–but it is estimated that in Seattle alone, 700-1000 young people are in search of a safe place to sleep each night. Some will manage to nab one of the few open beds in a youth shelter or may find that they’re able to “crash” on a friend’s couch for one more night. But many more will be forced to settle for the inadequate shelter offered by an overpass, abandoned building, door stoop, or a late night bus. And now that we’re entering the rainy winter season, it’s going to be even more of a challenge to stay warm, dry, and safe.

Photo provided courtesy YouthCare

Photo provided courtesy YouthCare

Our November drive will support YouthCare in their important work, and we’d love to have your help!

During November, Kula Movement will be hosting a warm clothing drive befefitting YouthCare. Each month, over 400 youth come to YouthCare’s drop-in center looking for clothing or blankets, a hot meal, or simply a place to escape the cold. According to YouthCare’s website, “That’s the first step to earning their trust, and our ultimate goal is to help them move off of the streets and prepare for life. In the meantime, those survival supplies are quite literally saving lives.”

Below is a list of items we’ll be collecting. Please note that certain items must be new and unused, while others are acceptable in gently used condition.

  • New underwear and long underwear
  • New wool or thermal socks
  • Warm coats or rain jackets
  • Warm hoodies (for layering)
  • Sleeping bags
  • Warm blankets
  • Gloves and handwarmers
  • Hats and scarves
  • Backpacks
  • Travel-size toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner)
  • Gift cards to Target, Fred Meyer, Safeway, QFC

YouthCare serves young people ages 12-24, so keep that in mind as you select sizes to donate. We have been told that the greatest need currently is for all men’s and women’s adult sizes, particularly XL, XXL, and XXXL.

We will be setting up a collection bin in our space, and invite and encourage you to participate if you are able. Please have your donations in by Wednesday, November 26th.

Thank you for helping us make a difference in a young person’s life!

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” ~Mother Teresa

 

About YouthCare and Homeless Youth

YouthCare has been providing services to Seattle’s homeless youth for 40 years. Their most visible facility is the Orion Center, which provides safe, overnight emergency shelter for up to twenty 18-24 year olds, where they can also do their laundry, take a hot shower, and eat a meal. Beyond satisfying these basic needs, the Orion Center is an entry point to other services – more permanent housing options, education and employment opportunities, health care and case management. YouthCare also runs the only short-term emergency shelter in Seattle for homeless youth aged 12–17. More information about the programs and services YouthCare provides can be found here.

Why are youth homeless?

This is a common question and one with a complicated answer. But one thing is certain: they are not homeless by choice. There is a common misconception that these are “rebellious” teenagers who have opted out of a traditional home life. The reality is far more distressing.

According to YouthCare:

  • 74% of homeless youth have been physically abused at home.
  • 39% were sexually abused.
  • Up to 40% identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. Most of those were kicked out for simply being who they are.
  • Many have prior mental health problems and come from families that could not or would not support them.
  • Many have “aged out” of foster care and other support systems, or have simply slipped through the cracks – something that is disturbingly easy to do in overtaxed systems stretched to the breaking point.

In the end, of course, it doesn’t matter why youth are homeless. What matters is that these youth are part of Seattle’s community — and they need this community’s help. Please contribute if you are able, and if this is a cause that resonates with you. We are grateful for whatever support you are able to give.

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