On May 7th, several of us had the pleasure of preparing breakfast at ROOTS, a young adult shelter located in Seattle's University District. ROOTS provides "shelter and other essential services to homeless young adults" between the ages of 18-25. ROOTS (Rising Out Of The Shadows) is located in the basement of the University Temple United Methodist Church, in the church's former social hall.
Margaret and Nathan on bagel duty, just before breakfast was served
Though it was a bit hectic getting everything together, we were able to get everything prepared in time to serve the shelter's guests. On any given night, ROOTS can host up to 45 guests; when they are at capacity, they work with other organizations to provide shelter to those in need. It was rewarding for all of us to see that we had helped make the day better for the shelter's guests.
Executive director Kristine Cunningham explains how ROOTS works
After serving breakfast, Kristine Cunningham, the executive director of ROOTS, gave us a tour of the space, showing how a recent renovation had allowed the shelter to increase its capacity. She also described how many people end up there; often as a result of "graduating" from the foster care system only to find that they were on their own. They have seen a correlation between demand and the increased cost of living in Seattle.
One eye-opener for some of us was the fact that many of the shelter's guests did not fit our preconceived notions of what homelessness looks like; many of the shelter guests were people who you wouldn't guess to be homeless at first glance. The ROOTS breakfast was the first in a series of events that Schemata is undertaking as part of a "Year of Service" volunteering campaign.