Puyallup Tribal Councilmember Sylvia Miller initiates coat, blanket drive

When a lunch emergency broke out at last week's Project Homeless Connect, Puyallup Tribal Councilmember Sylvia Miller stepped up with the right resource. The Tacoma Dome, which housed the main event, could not allow a free lunch give-away on its grounds. So Miller volunteered a tribally-owned parking lot just across the street at South E and 26th streets.

When the Project Homeless Connect guests showed up, they mentioned they needed a few other things: coats, backpacks, blankets, sleeping bags, socks and underwear, hats, gloves, toiletries, trash bags, umbrellas, shoes and ponchos.

South Sound Outreach workers and shelter providers have been sending out the same message: Winter's coming, and a whole lot of people will be cold and, worse, wet, if we don't step up.

Miller responded by bringing stacks of the tribe's store of cold-weather supplies to that gravel parking lot.

They were gone in no time, and she was off to the store with $300.

Again, the things she bought were gone in a snap.

Now she has developed a plan to let Tacomans get in on that same Samaritan action.

“We will do it on a regular basis, only this time more organized,” she said of the Puyallups' impromptu distribution.

She and the tribe are organizing give-aways of cold-weather gear from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 20 and Dec. 20 at the same lot at South E and 26th streets. Miller would like to make them a regular monthly event.

“We have a whole lot of people willing to help and donate,” she said.

She is working with veterans' groups, treatment programs and other services to set up referral tables. She is helping business owners understand how happy they will be if they donate lunches. She is reminding us that our coat closets and linen chests could use some clearing.

Miller is welcoming us all to bring our donations to the Puyallup Tribal Administration Building, 3009 Portland Ave., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. any weekday.

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