For the families who temporarily reside at Mary’s Place in Seattle, having a warm and comfortable place to stay fulfills their basic needs. They stay in a place that not only does that but also gives them the inspiration to continue improving their lives.
Mary’s Place, a nonprofit established in 1999 in response to the urgent need to provide resources and services to the city’s homeless population, operates six shelters that provide families with meals, hygiene facilities, showers, laundry, medical care and support groups. The shelters offer a lifeline for a growing number of families. Last year, Seattle and King County officials declared states of emergency – usually proclaimed after natural disasters – to seek state and federal assistance to combat the region’s homeless crisis.
Through a generous donation this spring, Mary’s Place was given the opportunity to expand its services and help additional families by converting an old downtown Seattle hotel into temporary housing. However, the old hotel rooms were in need of updates and repairs in order to properly accommodate families.
That’s when employee volunteers stepped in from Lowe’s stores and ATGStores.com, a Washington-based Lowe’s company that specializes in home improvement and home furnishing products. Over two days, 125 volunteers repainted 72 hotel rooms, with each receiving new floor lamps, vases, bookshelves and shower curtain liners.
“Coming home each night to a beautiful place certainly lifts your spirits, and what a gift to our families,” said Marty Hartman, executive director at Mary’s Place. “That organizations like Lowe’s and ATG cared enough to give their time and resources show how much they care about the community.”
Volunteers also repainted the kids club at the downtown Seattle facility and added a new chalkboard wall and new furniture. They installed doors and frames in the kitchen area, along with a range, refrigerator and a new air conditioning unit.
“It feels like a home when they don’t have one of their own.”—Marty Hartman, executive director, Mary's Place
The guest rooms provide shelter for nearly 200 family members, and many were awed by the transformation, Hartman said.
“Our families were so happy and surprised to see the changes,” she said. “They love the lamps to read by in their rooms, and the kids love the Seahawks bean bag chairs. It feels like a home when they don’t have one of their own.”