In a quiet neighborhood in University Place, residents rallied to Laura-Elizabeth Boyle and Kayce Burdge’s cause with blankets for homeless people.
Boyle, who will be a senior at Bellarmine Prep, and Burdge, who will be a senior at Wilson High School are working toward their Gold Awards, the highest honor in the Girl Scouts.
When they read that Catholic Community Services was taking over and refurbishing what is now The Tacoma Avenue Shelter, they had their project. They contacted shelter director Jim Anderson and asked where they could fit into the work.
Anderson had plans to convert an old garage into a space where volunteers could serve dinner to shelter guests.
Perfect, said the girls.
They started gathering donations of materials, notably the paint and primer given by the Center Street Home Depot.
They spent their summer weekends pressure washing the interior, priming, then painting the walls. They pulled weeds in outdoor parking area, and they prettied up the whole site. Together, they spent 130 hours and transformed a grim space into a welcoming one.
But wait, they told each other. There’s more.
As they learned about the people who need the shelter, they began collecting blankets and bedding for them. They saw National Night Out as a prime chance for a blanket drive.
They organized the event for their cul-de-sac, spamming dorways with flyers, buying burgers and dogs for 200, and inviting their neighbors to bring side dishes, salads, drinks – and new and gently-used blankets.
Their goal: 45 blankets and sheet sets, and warmth for that many people.
They aren’t done yet.
Once back at school, they’ll launch drives for toiletries, games and other necessities.
"From this experience we have borth grasped a deeper understanding of what life on the streets is like, and how we can give back to those who are less fortunate," they said in a note they wrote together,