SW Business Professional Women Help Hospitality House
[EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re re-running this story because we goofed when we first posted it â€“ we actually misplaced Janet’s story text so we just went ahead and posted the photos with our own little blurb. We apologize for the error, and hope you enjoy this story in its entirety.]
Story & Photos by Janet Grella
The annual Christmas party of the Southwest Seattle Business Professional Women’s Group (SWSBPW) was held last week at The Mark Restaurant in Burien.
BPW â€˜s mission is â€œto achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy education and information.â€
This year the organization â€˜adoptedâ€™ another group of people helping women â€“ Southwest King Countyâ€™s own Hospitality House, located at the Lake Burien Presbyterian at 15003 14th Ave SW in Burien.
The House is group of people and organizations dedicated to â€˜help homeless women find home, health and hope.â€ Their special guest and speaker was new House Executive Director Natalie Reber.
After a buffet dinner, Natalie answered questions about Hospitality House, enlightened the group about the operations of the House, as well as the type of women enjoying the benefits of living there. Hospitality House limits the length of stay to 90 days so long as the resident remains clean and sober and are making active efforts to address their particular problems.
â€œThe ladies of The House are homeless not because of character flaws, but because of â€˜extenuating circumstancesâ€™ such as unemployment, domestic violence, physical or mental illnessâ€ explained Natalie. Hospitality House provides shelter, a home-cooked evening meal, case managers, counseling and support.
When asked what the House needs the most, Natalie responded â€œVolunteers and donationsâ€. Even with over 500 volunteers working there annually, itâ€™s not enough.
Some Volunteer statistics;
- Meal Providers: 3,650 meals per year made by church volunteers have saved about $54,750 in operating budget.
- Overnight Volunteers on Friday and Saturday nights have saved $12,480 in payroll as well as spelled their Overnight Manager.
- Newsletter Editor, Designer & Printer saves another $20,000 in production of 4 issues per year.
- The hundreds of profession friends (carpenters, painters, plumbers and lawyers) who offer services free of charge.
Natalieâ€™s looking for any person willing to volunteer in Job Training skills, a website developer any one that can teach life skills, such as nurses, nutritionists, bankers, yoga instructors and of course volunteer chefs.
Call 242-1860 to inquire on how you might help. If you care to donate gently-used clothes, deliver them to The Community Clothing Closet 632 S. 143rd in Burien. Donations will be accepted on Sundays from 3-5.
At the end of the evening, the ladies of BPW packed up large Christmas bags with necessaries for the nine women of The House including (in each bag) hat, scarf, gloves, AMC Movies Passes, homemade cookies, phone cards, a blanket. lotions and unguents. This is another example of the women of BPW helping women. Who knows some of the women of The House may one day be a BPW member!
ABOUT SOUTHWEST BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL WOMEN (BPW)
BPW was formed in 1919 to advocate for professional women. Thatâ€™s one year before women got the right to vote!
BPW quickly grew into a national organization whoâ€™s mission is clear:â€ to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information.â€ The Emerald Chapter (Seattle) started in 1922.
The Southwest Seattle BPW has 22 local businesswomen whose professional lives include an attorney, interior designer, several insurance agents, property owner, salon owner and Boeing and Amazon executives. To find out how you may become involved, call Vicki Bergquest 206-878-4050.
More information about the SW BPW can be found at their website.
ABOUT HOSPITALITY HOUSE
The shelter is housed in Lake Burien Presbyterian Church. Before it was a shelter a â€œsmall army of volunteersâ€ worked diligently for about 6 months to remodel two unused classrooms into a shelter. Local zoning, limits the number of beds to 9.
Since opening its doors in October 2000, Hospitality House residents has been assisted by more than 500 individual volunteers who have received orientation in the causes of homelessness and how to relate to women who would be housed in the shelter. In the past 8 years over 500 single homeless women have been helped. Typically at the end of the program, about 80% move into permanent housing.
In 2008, the House provided 2,710 bed nights for 84 homeless women of South King County. They also revamped their strategic goals and named Natalie Executive Director. Natalie has had extensive experience working with non-profit and political organizations and is deeply committed to social justice.
In the two months that Natalie has been at The House sheâ€™s already enlisted the support of another sponsoring church, Grace Lutheran in Des Moines. In addition to Grace Lutheran, the 12 other sponsoring churches are Des Moines United Methodist, John Know Presbyterian, Lake Burien Presbyterian, Normandy Park Congregational, Prince of Peace Lutheran, Southminster Presbyterian, St Bernadetteâ€™s Catholic, St. Vincent DePaul Catholic, St. Elizabethâ€™s Episcopal and Saltwater Unitarian and Church of the Later Day Saints.