What if we told you that a group of five ordinary community members decided to take it upon themselves to replicate an event that large, well-funded nonprofits host on an annual basis? An event that serves thousands of homeless and low-income people with the food, services, and supplies that will help them to regain their footing amidst difficult circumstances.
You might be skeptical now… But what we haven’t told you is that this group of five had enough perseverance and passion to make that vision a reality.
In the summer of 2013, the group came together to read a book called, “The Hole in Our Gospel.” After finishing it, they knew they had to do something for those in need in the Northshore area, where they live. Their volunteering with Northshore Baptist had shown them the struggling people that often got overlooked in this affluent area. They went to find a volunteer opportunity like the Community Resource Exchange (CRE) or Project Homeless Connect (PHC) in Bothell that would reach the whole community. But there was nothing like that in Bothell. They had to do something. Care Day was coming.
The group approached Northshore Baptist Church (now Northshore Community Church) with the idea of starting a CRE-like event in Bothell, called Care Day. The church introduced the team to the Northshore School District, with whom they had built a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship. The Care Day team’s support network expanded further when they met two of United Way of King County’s AmeriCorps VISTAs, placed with the North Urban Human Services Alliance (NUHSA).
Through NUHSA’s Americorps VISTAs, the group was able to access the wisdom and experience of the staff at United Way of King County. They gleaned information and networked by coming to the most recent CRE and United Way of Snohomish County’s Project Homeless Connect (PHC). Through their consistent efforts they also partnered with several churches and around 60 nonprofits.
With several planning meetings under their belts, the team brought NUHSA on board as their fiduciary agent and began their quest for supply drives and donations. Hundreds of phone calls, emails, and dozens more meetings later, it was finally August 15th.
Care Day took place on the campus of Bothell High School. Despite the rain and the logistical problems that plague every first time event, the team remained calm and positive. The leadership team solved problems creatively and directed people graciously, and in the end pulled off an event that brought 60 providers and 180 volunteers together to serve approximately 250 men, women, and children in need.Everyone from the volunteers to the providers to the school staff complimented the organization of the event and asked if there would be a “Care Day 2015.”
Care Day has continued and grown (!) and now occurs at Northshore Middle School.