How to contribute this holiday season

While I have been listening to the controversy that is surrounding the topic of homeless here in Tacoma, Washington, I cannot help but ask the question, "why still?"

I have been training the homeless at my gym now, as well as their social workers from the Nativity House, for 5 months and I just cant tell you the difference in how a paying gym member in class strikes me versus one of my homeless athletes. I have learned to love all of them and I really care so much about them. 

In learning about this demographic, homelessness in general increased for the first time in seven years in the United States in 2017. It has exploded in Washington especially this year. On a single night, according to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 553,742 people were found to be experiencing homelessness in the U.S.

LGBTQ youth had a 120% higher risk of homelessness than their straight peers. Black or African American youth had an 83% higher risk of homelessness. Hispanic, non-White youth had a 33% higher risk of homelessness. When will it end?

But, wait. Why has an athletic brand supported and/or promoted this?

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These are real people, with real feelings and valid emotions- why aren't we doing more? What have you done to show up for the black, indigenous, lgbtq+ and disabled communities recently?

As a PT and strength coach, I am agitated with how complacent this fitness world has continued to be. All we want is to be able to move better and feel good- why do only a select few get to feel this way? Are you aware of the feelings that arise where a woman you’ve just met with no home or family tells you that you made them feel safe and strong simply by leading them through a workout? Words don't do it justice. This should be available to all.

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Have you ever ran alongside a homeless guy that has stage 4 cancer that just wants to get sober in order to see his son again? I have now.

Has another told you that he is working every day to find proof of his identity so he can finally work professionally on his art work? I have now.

As the holidays approach, there is always something to give someone in need. If you are interested in volunteering on your day off at a soup kitchen or food banks, right on! To find a non-profit or well known establishment that is in your area, please visit https://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/

If you cant make the time, you can also donate and contribute to their basic needs with the following:

Hygiene: 

chapstick, soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, sunscreen, toothpaste and tooth brushes, mouthwash, deodorant, razors, shaving creme, facial tissues, combs, brushes, tampons, pads, cough drops, cold medicine, pain relievers

Baby (food):

formula, bottles, sippy cups, thermometers, diapers, wipes, pullups, baby lotion, baby powder, warm beanies and blankets

New toys:

wooden puzzles, building blocks, tool sets, science kits, sports gear (baseball glove, ball and bat, etc), interactive and educational books

Warm clothing:

scarves, hats, beanies, blankets, gloves, socks, underwear, long sleeves, jackets, jeans

Search and rescue

bus passes, trash bags, 1 gallon zip lock bag, rain ponchos, flash lights, sleeping mats, tarps/tents, 

Lastly, a smile never hurts.

Thank you.

Maria Rodriguez