The most moving volunteer in Seattle experience, ever

By United Way of King County, on April 5, 2017 | In Volunteering

To volunteer in Seattle is wonderful, and the Community Resource Exchange is the most moving volunteer experience anywhere.

You’re at CenturyLink Field with over 1000 people, and for a few hours you work closely with a handful of individuals experiencing homelessness in Seattle and King County for a variety of reasons. You learn about their families, their struggles, their successes. They learn yours. When it’s over, you know you’ve made a difference in someone’s day, maybe even their year, or life.

Get a feel for the day from the volunteers in their own words in the below excerpts.

Everyone’s Situation Was Different

Coming into the event, I expected everyone to be homeless and with very similar needs. One of my initial roles was to gather information on the participants standing in line and it was fascinating to hear all of there stories and how varied they were. Some were homeless, but working. Some had shelter, but weren’t working. Some were retired and just struggling to get by….I would highly recommend this experience to anyone to put a human face on homelessness and the challenges of making a go of it in King County right now. —Eddie, Starbucks


Daily Difficulties Homeless People Face

I had the privilege of spending the day with a young man and his service dog. It was very different from anything I have ever experienced and not what I expected. I was told that I would hear people’s stories and form a relationship with the people I helped. Well, I didn’t literally ‘hear’ anything from this young man. He is mute due to a brain injury, and we spent the day communicating via iPhone notepad. I would speak, he would type…Maybe it was because I was literally his voice for much of the day, or maybe it was the close proximity of passing a phone back and forth for hours, or the concentration to read everything he offered, or the adorable dog, or the fact that he was so young… I don’t know, he just really made an impact on me, and my heart hurts for the difficulties he has to face. —Paula, Farmers Life Insurance

Learned that homelessness is a full time job.  Obtaining and keeping documents current and having the necessary information/documentation to access services takes a lot of work and focus that is really difficult for many trying to improve their situation. The Resource Exchange directly addresses this issue. —John, Bank of America


Connections Made Volunteering

Mele is in our feature video at the top of this post. She volunteered with the KeyBank team. As a sweeper in the haircutting station, and with 250 haircuts in five hours, she had her work cut (no pun intended) out for her. But her real goal was to help make everyone feel special.

In today’s digital society, we sometimes lack human connection, and this is a great avenue to gain some meaningful human connection while helping out the greater community. Seattle is my home, and anything to help it I’m up for it. —Grant, Starbucks

Volunteering at CRE in Seattle

On What It Means To Volunteer

I met a gentleman this morning who told me that he had been to the CRE for several years while he was experiencing homelessness. He has since secured a job and housing, but returned as a volunteer because he found the day say meaningful when he needed it. —Ashley, Tableau Software

Tracy returned to volunteer with Bank of America for the second year in a row. For her, it’s the opportunity to get to help, and know, people experiencing homelessness in Seattle that really makes the volunteer experience impactful.

See more about this rewarding day on Facebook. Moved by #JointheExchange? You can donate to help end homelessness in Seattle here.


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