Soroptimist International is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training necessary to achieve economic empowerment. Their mission is to ensure women and girls have the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential and live their dreams. So, it is no wonder why Soroptimist International of Seattle South, has been a longtime Partner and supporter of Hospitality House in our mission to help homeless women find home, health, and hope.
“The hardest part of my week is finding a safe place to be when the shelter is closed.”
years, Hospitality House has been essential to our Residents in helping them
regain a sense of place. It is impossible to consider one’s personhood apart
from place. A person’s sense of belonging, livelihood, and community are often
what cultivate the context of place. This place is where a person typically
calls home. For the 90 days that our Residents are in our program, their sense
of “Home” is found in the physical location of Hospitality House. The problem
that many of our Residents faced was that “Home” at Hospitality House was only
open all day Monday-Friday. Our Residents had to seek shelter elsewhere during
the daytime hours every weekend. Some of
these shelter options were not the safest environment. Our residents work diligently all week long
to achieve the requirements of their goal work… often times, they would say,
“The hardest part of my week is finding a safe place to be when the shelter is
We have a budget to keep our shelter open 24 hours a day, Monday – Friday. While an open shelter 5 out of 7 days
is good, it still was not an ideal situation for our Residents as they were
still in need of shelter on the weekends.
This year, Soroptimist changed this dynamic by stepping up and meeting the needs
of our Residents head on. After hearing the worries, concerns, and hardships
that our Residents faced regarding the stress and anxiety of finding somewhere
to be on Out Days – Soroptimist took it upon themselves to make a difference. When
one of their generous donors gifted Soroptimist a substantial monetary gift to
be used toward the empowerment of women and girls – Soroptimist decided to
designate those funds to Hospitality House. Soroptimist saw the need of our Residents
and responded in a very tangible way. With this amazing gift, Hospitality House
was able to hire a weekend staff to keep our doors open on the Saturdays and
Sundays during harshest months of the year. Soroptimist provided Hospitality
House with this covering, and we in turn were able to cover our Residents
entirely during these months. The difference was undeniable. Our Resident
recipients were rested, refreshed and ready to work each week.
A few weeks ago, we received a note from the Soroptimist International of
Seattle South Vice President, Sharon Mann saying, “We feel Hospitality House
gives women the security to feel safe and empowered to excel. Without the
safety of shelter, life comes to a standstill because it takes all of one’s
energy to find safety. In addition, Hospitality House provides resources
to women helping them find a path to their future. This all aligns with the
mission and vision of Soroptimist. Many of us have either faced or have come
close to facing the same situations these women are experiencing. We understand
the sheer terror of feeling helpless and hopeless. We as a community need to
uplift one another and that is what the partnership between Hospitality House
and Soroptimist does.” These words came on the heels of the exciting news.
Soroptimist will be partnering with us this year, by committing to meet the
needs of our Residents once again.
we all just need someone to save the day. Soroptimist saved our weekends!
Our Donations Needed List has been updated for July.
COVID-19: During this time, donations can be dropped in front of the shelter door, or at the top of the stairs leading down to the shelter. Please knock or call ahead of time so that staff can collect all donated items. We want to ensure the safety of our donors by practicing proper social distancing.
Mother’s Day just wasn’t the same this year. There were no warm hugs, family gatherings or special dinners out. Rather, we blew Mother’s Day kisses from the other side of pane glass windows or sent our love through virtual Zoom or Facetime visits. The entire community was separated by a virus that had paralyzed an entire planet: Covid-19. Now in its 111th day here in Washington State. Just one more bump in the road to homelessness. Just one more loss of control.
For the nine homeless women sheltering in place at Hospitality House, Mother’s Day 2020 was especially non-eventful. One gal was sitting at her sewing machine, making face masks for whoever needed one. Another was searching the internet for leads on affordable housing. Others were completing their assigned House chores—unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, disinfecting countertops and all touchable surfaces. It was just another day in the Life of Covid-19.
Then came a special invitation to the courtyard, where staff and ladies from the Thursday morning Bible Study groups at John Knox Presbyterian Church had provided a lavish Mother’s Day Brunch. There was sparkling cider, mini zucchini quiches, pasta salad, cranberry-orange scones—and incredible mini Italian cheesecakes atop an orange shortbread crust, filled with roasted strawberry sauce and finished with a fresh strawberry slice and an edible gold leaf. Wow!
“This is one Mother’s Day I will never forget. Thank you for your generosity and thoughtfulness.’ ~ Jennifer
“Your kindness has meant more than you’ll ever know. At this time of transition and quarantine it’s nice to know that I am not alone.” ~ Katie
Brunch was just the beginning. Knowing that housing and employment plans are best executed when a client’s physical and emotional needs are being nourished, the gals from John Knox Church also filled colorful bags with gifts for the mind, body and heart—from coloring books, journals and movie passes to cosmetics, eye masks and sleepy time tea.
When Hospitality House Executive Director Sheenah Randolph was asked how the brunch went, she merely replied: “They cried tears of joy.”
Hospitality House is so grateful for John Knox Church for making Mother’s Day special for the women staying with us this year.
This month Hospitality House had the pleasure and honor to host an Open House at our shelter to celebrate, reflect and dream up new ways for us to continually stand in the gap, advocating and giving agency to all homeless women that walk through our doors.
The open house was a wonderful time of delicious food, remembering and honoring the history and legacy of Hospitality House, and celebrating 20 incredible years Hospitality House and our partners have remained faithful and devoted to helping homeless women access basic needs such as a bed, shelter, food, shower, and a laundry facility. Providing these basic needs coupled with wrap-around support to give each Resident the appropriate rest, space and capacity to start envisioning the life she wants, is all part of our strategy in assisting each client toward reaching her personal goals and stability.
The Open House was a powerful time to be together. Especially, to see the amazing talents of local artist and muralist, Davie Ross. Davie presented her gorgeous mural painted in the courtyard, that is a shared space by the Residents of Hospitality House and the children of the Lake Burien Presbyterian Church’s After School Program. This beautiful mural of a woman embracing a child can symbolize many things to the eye of the beholder – life flourishing, female strength, nurturement, rest, love and an overwhelming sense of hope. Between Davie’s mural and the showcase of her second works a convicting progression piece, displaying the very raw reality of what it is like to be displaced from home, one could not deny the feeling and sense for a call to action.
We are beyond thankful for all who attended our Open House – Volunteers, Donors, Board Members, Friends and especially our distinguished guests: King County Superior Court Judge Marshal Fergauson; and Des Moines City Council Members Traci Buxton, Luisa Bangs and Robert K. Back. This day could not be possible or as meaningful without all of you.
As Davie’s progression piece reminded us all – There is still much work to be done. While we continue to work covering every woman who comes to Hospitality House seeking hope, health and home – we hope you too will continue to be there right beside us, standing in the gap.
Around Hospitality House, there have been many little in-house projects going on to spruce up our space, making Hospitality House even more warm, cozy and welcoming than before. However, one particular project that took place right outside of our shelter, (but absolutely needs to be highlighted) is our new gate!
Alex Lucero from Lake Burien’s Eagle Scout Troop 360 – took it upon himself to do a project that he thought would help increase the security and privacy of our clients. Part of being “Hospitable” here at Hospitality House, has a lot to do with how we provide a sense of safety and security for our Residents. While we do a great job covering those bases inside our shelter – it took a special person like Alex to note there was some work that could be done outside our shelter, too.
Alex put together the blueprint, collected all the materials, and rounded up all the help he was going to need to complete his project. Not only did he build our amazing gate (which has significantly cut back on all the random public foot traffic that used our walkway as a shortcut to access the streets we’re sandwiched between), but his team also took the time to stain and restore the old fence lining our walkway – so all the fencing could match our new gate!
For that, we just wanted to say a BIG “Thank you” to Alex for all his hard work to help keep the Women of Hospitality House safe!”