Volunteers fill 500 bags for homeless in Seattle

by: Siemny Kim Updated:

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SEATTLE - Volunteers lined up, one after another, grabbing items and filling bags to hand out to the homeless.

“It's always been a part of rearing her in an environment where we are aware, caring and have compassion,” Rardin explained.

More than two dozen volunteers turned out and filled all 500 bags with things like snacks, lip balm and toothbrushes -- in less than half an hour.

“It's heartening and many people we didn’t know showed up, so that’s wonderful, too,” Domenica Lovaglia said. “I think we are going to have to do 5,000 next year.”

The event was held at Metropolist in SODO, a real estate company co-owned by Lovaglia that also houses an event space.

Lovaglia said the idea came from seeing encampments all around the city.

“We do a lot of philanthropic stuff around here,” Lovaglia added. “It's part of our ethos and this was a really simple project we knew people would love to do.”

The homeless crisis is one Seattle has been struggling to solve.

This year, the city will spend a record $50 million on homelessness.

During his annual State of the City address earlier this week, Mayor Ed Murray proposed more than doubling that with a property tax increase.

“This package would raise an additional $55 million per year, paid for by an increase in the commercial and residential property tax, around $13 per month for the median household,” Murray said.   

His proposal is getting mixed reaction.

“It's going to hurt a lot of people,” Louie Richmond said.

But for some of the folks here at Metropolist, like Rardin and Lovaglia, something needs to be done.

“I see it being progressively worse, unfortunately. and so, that can’t happen,” Rardin said,

“How we solve it, everyone has a different idea about that, but for sure it needs to happen,” Lovaglia added.

Volunteers were encouraged to take the bags and hand them out to the homeless on their own.

As for the tax plan, details are expected in a couple of weeks.

If the City Council approves, it could be on August ballot so voters get the final say.