The 2018 Community Care Day, held at the Cal Anderson Shelter House across from Central Lutheran Church, brought community members from across Seattle to a central location Friday providing medical services, hot food, hygiene kits and vital information for anyone who needs a little extra help.
Devin Silvernail, the executive director of Be Seattle, told CHS midway through Friday’s event they had already spoken with more than 50 community members and given out all the donated blankets and sleeping bags they had on hand.
“It’s not about solving, it’s about making life easier,” Silvernail said.
Mel Burchett from the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce said two years ago the idea came together to host a day to provide haircuts after the Capitol Hill Clean Sweep, an annual first weekend of Pride event dedicated to cleaning up the neighborhood. The following summer, basic medical screenings were added including HIV and glucose screenings. This year, it was decided they could reach more people if the effort aligned with Community Lunch and Central Lutheran. Central Lutheran Church is the host of Community Lunch on Capitol Hill providing four hot meals a week to any community member in need.
With a tiny $500 budget and cost overruns, “next year we could use a little help,” Burchett said.
The event is growing with support of Kaiser Permanente, BeSeattle providing their sidewalk pantry, Central Co-Op, Country Doctor, Washington State Business Professional Women, and King County Metro was on hand providing Orca Cards. They had plenty of hygiene products and socks left to give away thanks to support from local businesses who support Be Seattle’s The Pledge program to give what they can.
People added their names to a list in the Cal Anderson Shelter House for haircuts from providers like Brian Forza of Prana Cuts who hosts free cuts in Pioneer Square on Christmas Day, Ready Ron, and Julia Durfee with the Beyond Project, an effort founded to give back to the community by giving away free haircuts. “We go into Mary’s Place, Hope Place, New Horizons, Union Gospel Mission and several more to help the community,” Durfee said. By 11:30 Friday morning, they had already finished 10 haircuts with 8 more on the list and others signing up.
Jimmy Berry, a native of Gulfport Mississippi, says he formerly lived in Seattle in the early 2000’s with his girlfriend, but after she died of cancer 6 years later, he returned to Mississippi to care for his sick mother. After her death on Thanksgiving, he said he returned to Seattle in January but is now experiencing homelessness. “I am a guest of Compass at First Presbyterian and I’m getting good medical attention from Harborview,” he told CHS. “I’m 65 years old and I’m still here.” Berry said the way to help those in need is to listen. “Sometimes the public will give you information that you’ll pass on because of who’s speaking,” he said.
Berry also showed us his GiveSafe beacon, a blue plastic device that shows people with the app the story of the person you’ve just passed within 20 feet of, allowing them to give towards critical unmet needs. Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission has assisted with the program’s rollout.
Berry said that Friday’s event will also help. “It means that there’s hope in Seattle,” Berry said. “You don’t have to be without. There is hope here.”
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