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Christmas gifts for Cocoon House teen shelter pour in

Donors gave more than $65,000 in cash and gift cards for the shelter and 300 people left presents.

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By Kristi O'Harran
Herald Writer
EVERETT -- Surprises will be revealed around the tree this morning at Cocoon House. We published letters Monday, written by young people who live at the homeless shelter because they have nowhere else to go.
The letters were direct, eloquent and modest. Someone wanted art supplies, another a guitar, and one young man could use some clothing.
A 17-year-old boy wrote, "I live at Cocoon House because I'm homeless and don't have a family that ever cared about me. I have always been lonely and poor during the holidays with no one ever thinking about me or giving me anything."
Our community mobilized.
By week's end, Cocoon House had received more than $50,000 in cash donations. More than $15,000 came in through gift cards and more than 300 people dropped off presents.
"The response to your article has been overwhelming," said board member Larry Warner. "The staff could barely keep up processing donations from people walking in the door."
When Gene Brown read about a young mother at the shelter who is entering a medical assistant internship, he drove into action. She needed a special pair of shoes for her new job.
On the way to a meeting of the Knights of Columbus, John F. Kennedy Assembly 1530, Brown stopped at Scrub City on Evergreen Way.
"It's owned by the daughter of a Knight in Granite Falls," Brown said. "The shoes were about $65."
Later, at the Knights meeting, the group decided to give her a $100 gift certificate to the store.
"We don't have a big budget," Brown said. "We do quite a bit around the community. We provide things for the Interfaith Shelter, for Housing Hope and other folks who are in need."
Heidi Scott, development and community relations manager at Cocoon House, said it was a busy and exciting week.
"A middle-aged gentleman came in to make a monetary donation," Scott said. "It was mentioned that several of our kids had asked for North Face jackets for Xmas."
The man was wearing a North Face jacket and said he had only worn it a couple of times.
"He proceeded to take off his jacket and insisted that we give it to one of our kids for Christmas," Scott said.
Another gentleman came by to deliver new black boots that one teen had wished for.
"He proceeded to tell me that his son was a client of Cocoon House about 15 years ago," Scott said. "I asked him if we were able to help him."
The man started to get emotional and told Scott that Cocoon House saved his son's life as he was not the best father. His son is now in a management position with an IT company, and the father is very, very proud of him.
The man donated the boots in his son's honor.
"It's these times and these stories that make me very proud to be a part of this amazing agency," Scott said. "I know that we are not only making a huge difference in the lives of our youth, but we are also making a huge difference in our community and the support proved that."
For those donors who wondered if, for instance, the teen hoping for a guitar had already gotten his wish, Scott spoke about scale. At their five locations, Cocoon House serves more than 80 youths. They have many who would like a guitar, and they would like one for each facility, so the multiple donations were appreciated.
Scott said the shelter also had a wish that was filled.
Judd & Black delivered a new washer and dryer that were sorely needed.
One teen broke down in tears, Scott said, when he saw folks delivering packages.
The young man said, "My community cares more about me than my own family."
Kristi O'Harran: 425-339-3451,
Story tags » CharityChristmas

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