Mukilteo church’s Black Friday focus: The homeless

MUKILTEO — While many people will spend the day after Thanksgiving hunting for bargains and feasting on leftover turkey, Pointe of Grace Lutheran church will focus on raising awareness of homelessness.

People plan to gather at the church on so-called Black Friday to talk about homelessness in Snohomish County. They will spend the night on church grounds, sleeping in cars and tents.

“It’s kind of to counterbalance that emphasis on consumerism, exposing the reality that there are so many people without the basic necessities of life,” said the Rev. Eileen Hanson, a pastor at Pointe of Grace and Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood.

The two congregations are part of the same church.

The church feeds more than 100 people each week through its Neighbors in Need program and provides tutoring for children who have fallen through the cracks.

Trinity Lutheran also operates the Cold Weather Emergency Shelter in Lynnwood. Last year, the shelter offered 500 beds. Everyone who sought shelter there was from south Snohomish County, Hanson said.

The shelter is one in a network of organizations throughout the county offering refuge from the cold.

This will be the second Compassion in the Cold event at Pointe of Grace. About 35 people came last year to learn respect for people who have what it takes to spend a cold night without a home. A discussion with Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine will kick off the evening. Participants are invited to stay a few hours or the whole night.

Donations of canned food and other necessities will be accepted for the shelter.

Many people think there is no homelessness in Mukilteo, a mostly affluent waterfront community of about 20,000. Truth is, some people here are sleeping in their cars.

“There’s such an effort to present well in the community,” Hanson said. “It’s just more invisible.”

Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452, kyefimova@heraldnet.com

How to get involved

Compassion in the Cold starts at 8 p.m. Nov. 25 at Pointe of Grace, 5425 Harbour Pointe Blvd., Mukilteo. The public is invited to an open discussion with Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine. After the discussion, participants will spend the night in their cars and in tents. Coffee and a light breakfast will be served from 6 to 7:30 a.m. the next morning. Donations also will be accepted for the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter. Needed items include warm socks, toiletries, packets of hot cocoa, cider or coffee, creamy peanut butter, cans of tuna, sturdy paper plates and 8-ounce cups for hot drinks.

Anyone interested in participating should contact Kelsey Plummer at 425-263-8730 or kelsey@trinitylutheranchurch.com.

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