The Lake City Holiday Project began in 1986 as the Holiday Helpers program, designed by employees of the City of Seattle’s Neighborhood Office in Lake City (aka Lake City Little City Hall). Several years later, program sponsorship shifted to the Children’s Home Society, where is stayed for several more years. In 2000, Maple Leaf Lutheran Church in Meadowbrook (MLLC) adopted the program where it was renamed the Lake City Holiday Project. Finally, in 2008, MLLC relinquished the reigns to Meadowbrook Community CARE (MC2), a community non-profit organization dedicated to enriching North Seattle through services that support, educate, and engage the community.
This project has provided gifts to children from low income families in North Seattle for over 30 years now. Over that time, the project has provided toys and clothing to nearly 7,500 children between the ages of infancy to 18. Last year, the project served almost 700 kids. Families and children are clients of the following North Seattle human service providers: North Helpline/Lake City Food Bank, the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), local Seattle Parks Community Centers, North Seattle Family Center (Children’s Home Society), and Ryther Child Center. Implementation of the Lake City Holiday Project brings together groups and individuals from all over NE and N. Seattle. Over 40 Churches, community groups, business groups, and families in our area donate gifts and money annually to support our cause. Nearly 80 people donate their time to help bring our project to fruition every holiday season. With a small group of leaders, most of whom have been with the project for over a decade, we recruit volunteers from around the community to participate in shopping, receiving, bagging and distribution of gifts. Together, we continue to help fill a small part of the enduring need we see around us every day in our neighborhoods.
In spite of improvements taking place up and down the Lake City Way corridor, there is a growing number of low income families living in the area. Homeless people are visible on the streets daily. In one six square block area, there is a population of people who speak sixteen different languages. These families often face language as well as education as barriers to becoming integrated into a broader community. In 2010, the request for free school lunches at Nathan Hale High School increased by 50% over the previous year. Because North Seattle has historically been considered an affluent area, the growing poverty and needs of this area often fall beneath the radar of larger foundations who target their giving to other parts of the city whose needs have been long-standing. Families count on the Lake City Holiday Project every year to help provide their families with both winter-time necessities and holiday cheer. Won’t you help?