It’s like we’re Santa Claus for other people

Kids’ group donates clothing and toys to the Gospel Mission

By KATHY KORENGEL

Herald Writer

Three boys juggled a huge plastic bag loaded with clothes and blankets into the storage area of the Everett Gospel Mission men’s shelter on Friday.

"Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas," they belted out to bystanders as they fumbled with the bag.

The three were among nine in a Tulalip Boys and Girls Club’s Before-School Care Group who delivered about a dozen big bags full of toys, clothes and blankets to the shelter.

The shelter also is being used as a storage area for donations to the mission’s Women and Children’s Shelter in Lowell.

Twenty or so children ages 6 to 11 receive care at the Boys and Girls Club from 6 to 9 a.m. on weekdays.

Fatima Garcia, director of the program, said staff and children have been doing laundry every morning for two weeks to prepare donated clothes for the Everett mission.

Garcia said 9-year-old David Stalford has been particularly involved in the project, which the group undertook this year for the first time.

David explained: "We wanted homeless people to have more stuff and presents. They don’t have as much stuff as we do."

Garcia said the idea came about as staff noticed abandoned coats stacking up in the center’s lost-and-found corner. Garcia and assistant program director Joanne Richey then sent notes home with the children asking for donations for the project.

As children bounced around among the bags, Joanne’s son, Tanner, 7, said he was glad kids who will be spending Christmas at the Women and Children’ s Shelter may get to play with some of his donated toys. Especially his stuffed dog, which he discovered his mom had donated to the cause without his knowledge.

"They’re really going to like it and play with it a lot," he said, without a second thought to giving up a favorite toy.

Bill Donahue, public relations person for the mission, said he was surprised and delighted by the children’s act of charity.

"It’s great they’re aware at such an early age there’s a world outside themselves that’s not as wonderful as their world is," Donahue said.

Sebastian Brattain, 9, said with a big grin, "It’s like we’re Santa Claus for other people."

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