What would you need if you were living outside at this time of year?
“Socks, shoes, coats, blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and food,” says Kristen Converse, who co-owns All Star Heating and Air Conditioning in Fall City with her husband Patrick. She is collecting all of those things in an effort to help the nearby residents of Tent City 4, located just off Interstate 90 at the High Point Road exit. The encampment will soon move to Sammamish.
“I’m looking for anything that, if you were outside, what would you need?” she said. “There’s no children, so we don’t need toys and that kind of stuff… just something to help them make it a little bit easier.”
Converse started collecting donations for the homeless encampment on Nov. 30 and plans to continue collecting donations through Dec. 20. So far, she said, the donations have filled about a fourth of the All-Star conference room.
She is taking donations of appropriate items at the office, 4223 337th Place SE, Fall City, during regular business hours, she said, and she will be there Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. to take donations as well.
“We’re getting a lot of donations during the week, which is good, but a lot of people can’t make it during the week, so if I need to be there on Sunday, I’ll be there on Sunday,” she said. “I’m kind of doing this by the seat of my pants.”
The drive has seen strong support from the community.
“Since I’ve done this, I’ve gotten so many emails … there’s a need down here, that’s all there is to it,” she said.
It started when one of her friends spoke to a Tent City resident, about how she had come to be homeless and what she needed. Converse said the resident told her friend they really needed warm clothing, “… and I said OK, let’s do it.”
She promoted the supply drive on social media and started collecting the donations. She plans to deliver the donations to the encampment’s next location, Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Sammamish on the 20th, since Tent City is now in the process of moving to that site.