December 31, 2013, Sammamish, WA -Did you think it was cold this morning when you stepped outside your warm home? People are living outside all night in the cold 25-37 degree Sammamish weather. Can you imagine what it would have been like living in a tent the night of the windstorm we had in November?
With the placement of Tent City IV at Mary, Queen of Peace in Sammamish, this gives our children and 4th grade Girl Scout Troop #42442, the opportunity to learn more about homelessness in our community, and these are questions that they have pondered.
On December 6th, 2013, one of the coldest nights of the month, when it was 27 degrees out, the troop of 9- and 10-year old girls, put in their time and talents to provide a hot dinner for the residents of Tent City IV. Previously, they met with residents and developed a menu to feed approximately 100 people; with the idea that some of the food would be left over for future meals. The girl scouts shopped and took two nights to prepare the food. Plus, they enlisted four of their big brothers, from Boy Scouts Troop 751, who spent 4 hours outside on that same cold night, making Dutch oven apple desserts.
In addition to preparing a meal, several of the girls helped setup Tent City IV in October. They noticed how worn the building materials were, especially the plywood that the tents are placed on. With the impending Tent City IV move in January 2014, this troop decided to raise money for an effort they dubbed “Project Plywood”, to provide moving supplies to Tent City IV. They met with residents and gathered a list of items that are necessary for a successful move.
Troop members made several attempts to find a location to setup a donation station. Home Depot in Issaquah, due to store policy could not let the troop setup in front of their store; however, the manager offered to donate $100 in materials. The girls purchased from Home Depot: 7 rolls of duct tape, a massive bulk twist ties and a huge roll of tying twine.
With persistence, they found Lowe’s in Bellevue offered their store front for the troop to setup a “giving tree”; where patrons could either donate cash to Project Plywood or purchase items from tags taken off the tree. Many people donated money or purchased supplies; but one particular gentleman showed up with $750 in Safeway gift cards to give to “Project Plywood”.
If this wasn’t enough, because Tent City IV is setup in Sammamish, the troop wanted to do something within the city. Therefore, on the morning of December 14th this troop setup a neighborhood stand: “Hot Cocoa for the Homeless”. For about 2 hours the girls served hot chocolate and cookies to people who donated money for “Project Plywood”. Between the efforts of the Donation Station and Hot Cocoa stand, the troop raised $589.94; in addition to the $100 materials from Home Depot and $750 Safeway cards, totaling $1,439.94. With the cash, they in turn purchased from Lowe’s and delivered the following items to Tent City IV:
26 – pounds of nails
160 – 33-gallon trash bags
20 – 2x4s
10 – 1/2 inch sheets of plywood
32 – bottles of water
15 – rolls of duct tape
1500 – 11-inch zip ties
5 – new tarps
1 – gently used tarp
$36 in cash that they were too tired to spend!
The residents were very appreciative of all of the girls and their achievements. This troop has learned invaluable lessons from the Tent City IV residents. The troop wants to thank all of their generous friends, neighbors, managers and patrons of Home Depot and Lowe’s for their support.