Monday, May 28, 2012

Help fund the Denture Project

Greater Seattle Cares is embarking on an exciting new initiative, and we need your help.

Putting teeth into our support for TC3

For many years, GSC has been partnering with Medical Teams International to regularly bring a mobile dental clinic to Tent City 3, to provide emergency dental care to campers there. And for many years, we’ve known that there were campers who needed more help than the mobile clinic could offer. Then, last December, we actually did a survey to see what the need was. And we were stunned by what we found: 20% of the campers needed dentures.

“I’ve tried to get a job, but who’s going to hire me looking like this?”

What does it mean to not have teeth? It means you can’t eat the meals that generous supporters provide to Tent City 3. You can only eat things that are very soft. You tend not to smile too much, so your lack of teeth doesn’t show. People who meet you make automatic negative judgments. And if you’re living with chronic infections from broken teeth, that can even become life threatening. We realized that we needed to do something about this situation. While some campers may qualify for Medicaid, state budget cuts have resulted in the entire dental program being closed. But dentures are expensive -$5,000 for a full set. How could we ever afford this?

The difference it makes

In the face of so much need, the GSC board decided to act. And here’s what we’re hearing from the few campers we’ve been able to help so far.

Trudi hasn’t had any upper teeth since someone stole her dentures while she was living in a shelter. Now Trudi can eat things she hasn’t tasted in years. Best of all, when Trudi’s daughter gets married this summer, Trudi can meet her daughter’s in-laws with confidence.  

Shawn says, "Last year I was out with some friends and someone made a comment about my bad teeth. It made me feel really bad. I like to smile. Now I can without feeling ashamed. Having the dentures gives a great uplifting feeling. I am able to chew my food, and I am regaining my health with better nutrition. I was one of the first to sign up – I was so excited I actually cried. Bless the people who donated money to make this happen for me."  

And Wade says, "I just got my dentures. I feel more confident about myself. I am chewing my food for the first time in a long time. With my teeth in, I was able to talk to people and get housing. The best part about that is now I will be able to see my kids. I am very grateful for this new life I have been given."

We need your help.

Clearly, this is an opportunity for us to make a significant difference in the life of a homeless person – a difference that can lead to improved health, increased self-esteem, and the hope of moving back into the mainstream. Won’t you help?
  • $475 buys an upper or lower denture
  • $950 provides an entire set of teeth
  • And any amount helps!
Donating is easy! Simply donate online or you can send us a check with your contribution.

 Springtime is a time of hope. Let’s put some hope into the hearts of these Tent City residents – and some teeth in their mouths! Thank you. And God bless you. The Greater Seattle Cares Board

A Special Note from GSC Board Member, Bill Bear Dear friends of Tent City 3 campers, I am one of those people who has dentures. While annoying at times, it is nothing compared to going through life with missing teeth. Without all your teeth, you can't eat or talk properly, and for many it is impossible to work because of the low self-esteem that missing teeth brings. I was fortunate to have most of the cost of my dentures covered by insurance. Folks at Tent City don't have that option. Campers in my situation have had to resign themselves to never having a full mouth of teeth. There are many barriers to people who are trying to get out of homelessness. Many are really hard to address. But here’s one we can address. Greater Seattle Cares has contracted with an experienced denturist to provide dentures for an initial group of Tent City 3 campers. The total cost is around $12,000. The board has committed itself to raising this money, because we see how big a difference this will make in the lives of these campers. But we cannot do this without your help. Whatever amount you can give will help us reach our goal. Please donate any amount online or you can send us a check with your contribution. Thank you, Bill

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mobile Dental Clinic

For several years now, GSC has been partnering with Medical Teams International (MTI) to bring one of their mobile dental clinics to Tent City 3. Every month or two, MTI employee Ellen Broyles maneuvers this incredible vehicle through the city to wherever Tent City is being hosted at the moment. The mobile-home-sized clinic includes two complete dental suites and comes complete with X-ray machines, autoclave, and a waiting room.

In this dental clinic, two volunteer dentists and dental assistants can provide care for 12-20 campers in a day, treating cavities and extracting teeth when necessary. Sometimes we are lucky to have a dental hygienist on the van, providing important prophylaxis to people who have often not had the opportunity for a dental cleaning in years.

 Greater Seattle Cares pays $400 for each visit of the dental van. If you would like to support this important endeavor, make an earmarked donation today.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Homeless Poetry, by Matt Barrett

Matthew R. Barrett (2/8/65 - 9/2/14)
A View from the Street, by Matthew R. Barrett
A View from the Street is a book of poetry written by a man who has lived on the streets off and on for much of his adult life. This book includes Matt's poetry, articles about Matt and letters to Matt from former President Clinton and more.

In addition to Matt's encounters with homelessness, Matt has also battled 11 types of cancer since he was just two years old and has endured over 1,700 surgeries. In 2011, he was a Special Guest at the Invisible Disabilities Association's Honor Awards Banquet, where he shared some of his journey.

 He was also chosen to be featured in Seattle freelance photographer's photo essay called Walking with Giant.

Purchase A View from the Street by Matthew R. Barrett.

All proceeds are generously donated to support Tent City 3.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gleaning Project: GSC Goes Green

Have you ever wondered what happens to merchandise that has been opened and then returned to a store? What about new food and sundries that are either surplus or manufactured as samples? It might surprise you to know these items are typically sold as salvage or even sent to the landfill.

At GSC we realize that in our community there are both tremendous need and opportunity. By partnering with caring businesses within the area we are coordinating the successful redistribution of these goods to TC3 and other registered agencies dedicated to the homeless and at risk populations. One hundred percent of everything “gleaned” is routed to one or more of these places.

We are pleased to say that each year we glean many tons of food and thousands of other articles that are then immediately passed on to those doing without. Not only is this work particularly gratifying as it touches hundreds of people each day, it is also makes use of things that would otherwise be lost or wasted.

 If you think you might be interested in joining our “Glean Team”, we would love to hear from you. Together we can help so many and protect our environment in the process. How green is that?


Friday, May 4, 2012

Tent City 3 video, by Seattle Pacific University

This video discusses the issue of homelessness and includes Tent City 3 residents, volunteers and other supporters sharing their voice. Produced by Seattle Pacific University. Copyright 2009, Clapping Trees Media.

Tent City 3 from Seattle Pacific University on Vimeo.

Watch this video on Vimeo

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Walking with Giant


One man's battle with homelessness and debilitating illness

(2/8/65 - 9/2/14) Meet Matthew Robert Barrett, appropriately nicknamed Giant by his friends not just for his grand stature but for meeting a hard life head-on and being dubbed a big inspiration to all those who have come to know him.

Matt was a 3-year resident at Tent City 3.

Learn about his journey in a photo essay by photographer Ilona Berzups.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GSC Newsletter – Feb 2012

In this issue:
  • SPU reaches out
  • A donation you can sink your teeth into
  • What’s cookin’ in March?
  • What do the campers need right now?
  • A Giant Step Forward to Give Back
  • Really, come visit!
  • Calling all strong arms (and pick-up trucks)
Download/view GSC Newsletter - Feb 2012 (1.2 mb)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

GSC Newsletter – Jan 2012

In this issue:
  • What’s new with TC3? New digs, that’s what.
  • You made the holidays something special
  • What’s cookin’ in February?
  • What do the campers need right now?
  • No time to be camping
  • Come visit
  • Seattle Pacific University Hosts Special Events
Download/view GSC Newsletter - Jan 2012 (1.1 mb)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Photos: Tent City 3 move 1/21/12

Volunteers Bethany Community Church, by Ilona Berzups

A slideshow of Tent City 3 move from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church to Seattle Pacific University's Wallace Field on 1/21/12

Created with flickr slideshow. 

For more photos by Ilona Berzups visit