Buy a Christmas tree; help with homeless meal

Toby Partney loads  a Christmas tree for Nicole Baker and her daughter Kaybrein

Toby Partney loads a Christmas tree for Nicole Baker and her daughter Kaybrein

Anyone who buys a Christmas tree at a lot on 1637 W. Meeker S. in Kent will help support a weekly homeless dinner as well as plans for a new community center.

Kent small-business owner Brian Raynes, who spearheads a weekly Thursday evening homeless dinner, came up with the idea to sell Christmas trees to raise money. Proceeds from the sales will help buy food for the homeless dinner and raise funds for the proposed Hope Community Center.

The lot sits in front of a vacant building that the Rev. Jimmie James wants to convert into a community center. James serves as executive director of Holistic Opportunities for Personal Empowerment, also known as H.O.P.E., a nonprofit group that hopes to open the community center early next year.

The center initially will serve as a drop-in center for teens.

“A miracle will happen,” Raynes said during an interview Wednesday at the tree lot. “That place will get open.”

Volunteers will sell trees from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Dec. 24. Raynes plans to keep the lot open as late as midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

“Our goal is to sell 1,000 to 1,500 trees to raise money for the Hope Center and the homeless dinner,” Raynes said.

Customers can choose from among hundreds of Douglas and noble firs. Tree prices range from $20 to $80. Wreaths cost $19 and garland is sold for $25 for 25 feet.

Raynes started the weekly homeless dinner last year at the parking lot of the B & T auto detail shop he runs at 416 Railroad Avenue S. in downtown Kent.

An average of 70 to 80 people have attended recent dinners run by Raynes and a group of volunteers. Nearly 130 people attended a special Thanksgiving meal Nov. 28. Those who attended that meal also received backpacks with items such as a blanket, flashlight, batteries, hats, gloves and toothpaste.

“With the community support we’ve had for the homeless feed, it’s been doing really well,” Raynes said.

One local business donated tents to provide shelter to the homeless during the Thursday meal.

More volunteers are needed by Raynes to help with the sale of Christmas trees. He’s looking for people to hold signs along West Meeker Street for the lot.

After Christmas, Raynes will pick up trees for $5 to anyone who signs up for the service.

For more information, to volunteer or to make donations, call Raynes at 253-332-8010 or e-mail him at btpayitforward@aol.com.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentnews.us.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://kentnews.us/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
Kent Police to offer teen academy for students in June

For high school students interested in law enforcement career

Madeline Goldsmith. COURTESY PHOTO
No suspect yet in July 2023 Kent murder of Madeline Goldsmith

Someone fatally shot 18-year-old Kentwood High graduate as she sat in vehicle near Lake Meridian

t
Police bust mother, daughter in Kent for retail crime spree

Two reportedly joined one other woman in 3-state crime ring taking women’s clothing from Lululemon

t
Reith Road in Kent to get two new roundabouts this year

City Council approves $4.28 million bid; project to start in late May or early June

t
Puget Sound Fire's Teddy Bear Clinic set for May 18 in Kent

Annual event provides free checkups for teddy bears and children

t
Overturned military vehicle causes I-5 backup near Kent, Federal Way

Wednesday, April 10 in northbound lanes near South 272nd Street

t
Kent Police Blotter: March 26 to April 7

Incidents include robberies, burglaries, shooting

t
State Patrol seek witnesses to I-5 hit-and-run crash in Kent

Collision at about 11:30 p.m. Monday, April 8 along northbound I-5 near State Route 516

t
Riverbend Golf Complex in Kent turns profit for 2nd consecutive year

City-owned facility brings in about $600,000 in 2023

Kent Police recovered nearly 800 catalytic converters in a 2021 bust. File photo
New state legislation fights catalytic converter theft

Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill on March 26 adding new regulations… Continue reading

t
Firefighting Diversity & Recruitment Workshop set for May 11 in Kent

Event designed to help potential candidates get jobs

t
Kentwood High grad's legacy of love lives on through organ donation

Madeline Goldsmith one of 344 organ donors honored by Gov. Jay Inslee in Olympia