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A Thanksgiving welcome for Tent City campers


Some Maple Leaf area kids intent on extending a warm welcome to the residents of the newest Tent City/Nickelsville site in northeast Seattle are hand-delivering Thanksgiving breakfasts today.

Families from St. Catherine of Siena Church and School collected food items, fleece coats, blankets and tarps for delivery to the homeless camp in Lake City. They put together more than 300 breakfast bags.

Event participant George Allen tells the outreach is a way to make sure the newest northeast Seattle residents feel welcome, and to introduce his kids to neighbors they may not otherwise meet:

"Kids don’t have a lot of engagement with people who are homeless, and this allows them to make a connection with people who live without homes, and chance to meet them and understand their worries," said Allen.

He says St. Catherine's families wanted to counter reactions from some Tent City neighbors Allen characterized as "less than welcoming," which were chronicled in various reports, including The Seattle Weekly.

After the morning's first stop in Lake City, the St. Catherine's Thanksgiving entourage will visit  St. Mark's on Capitol Hill, where another resident camp is located.

Allen says any extra breakfasts or warm weather gear will be distributed to people living on the streets of the Pioneer Square/Occidental Park area.

The roving Tent City camps have grown in number. Organizers took the name "Nickelsville" as a criticism of former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' policies regarding the homeless.

Recently, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn proposed a vacant Sodo site (the former Sunny Jim company) be renovated as a semi-permanent home for Tent City, marking the first time the city would officially sanction such a site, as reported by The Seattle Times. McGinn and his staff are still considering the viability of that option, according to the mayor's website.