When we were growing up, we had friends that cared about the same things that we did and happened to live near enough for it to matter. Sometimes they were smarter and more athletic, sometimes they weren’t – but if they didn’t play nice, they couldn’t come over anymore. Some of those friends were lifelong relationships, and others were those that we stopped talking to after they moved out of the neighborhood and felt awkward seeing in the grocery store. New friends, old friends – it just mattered that we had friends…and it was our friends that made adventures possible and dreams come alive.
Helping Hand House turned 26 this year – 26 years of growing up in east Pierce County. Life is a lot bigger and more complicated than it was in the early days. But we have amazing friends, so many of whom have been with us through thick and thin over the last decades of economic ups and downs in Pierce County.
Some of our friends
We have friends like the Puyallup Valley Quilters (PVQ) – one of several quilting groups who provide a beautiful handmade quilt to every member of every family who comes into one of our housing programs. Whether a person is 4 or 54, there’s nothing like a warm quilt made with care and a little message attached to the corner: “Made with love just for you by the Puyallup Valley Quilters.” It’s one of the touches that help our families understand how much we honor them and want to see them succeed – and it wouldn’t be possible without friends like the Puyallup Valley Quilters. “I think Helping Hand House does wonderful work in our community,” says Patty deCamp, a longtime friend of HHH and PVQ member. “Our members enjoy gathering to make these quilts that they know will be on each family member’s bed when they first move in after being homeless. Those of us who have attended the breakfasts and open houses have been very touched by the stories of homelessness to hope and want to continue to help in additional ways.”
Then there’s the South Hill Rotary, who purchased a duplex over 13 years ago to house homeless families with children. Their investment so many years ago has provided a home to nearly 115 families who would otherwise be living in a car or tent, their children cold at night and hungry on the way to school. They’ve heard the stories and seen the difference that they have made – so much so that they are in the midst of purchasing a second duplex, providing the means and opportunity to help even more families.
Then there are the countless groups of friends from businesses, churches, and community groups who do yard projects, provide extravagantly for families over the holidays, bake birthday cakes, paint homes, wrap gifts, host food and supply drives (and so much more…). It is the Key Bank‘s and Milgard’s of the world – employees giving selflessly with fantastic attitudes in project after project. Milgard even ‘adopted’ all the kids who have birthdays in July.
Insert your name here – for the times you stepped up when the need was great and you had a hand to give. It is people like you that make hope and safety possible when every option looks bleak and it is raining again.
None of what we do could be done without our friends – the volunteers and partners that give themselves away day after day or a weekend a year. It’s a labor of love to serve families in crisis, and a joy to do it together with you.
From all your friends at Helping Hand House, thank you.