The Employee Engagement Team at Boeing began working mid-November to fill the wishes of 34 Room at the Inn families and 30 Covenant House teens. Covenant House gives teens (ages 16 to 20) hope and the opportunity to break the cycle of chronic homelessness and unemployment.
“It means a lot to our clients that people care and are looking out for them, especially during the holidays,” says Twanda Watson, an outreach worker with Covenant House. “People don’t realize just how many homeless teens are out there.”
Boeing’s connection with Room at the Inn and Covenant House began years ago when Frank Gilmore started the adopt-a-family project with both shelters. Before he retired eight years ago, he wanted to be sure the project would continue and it did when Kathleen Willis, an office administrator for Boeing, happily took it over from Frank.
“As soon as I get the wish lists from Room at the Inn and Covenant House, I send out an email and flyer to get the word out around Boeing,” says Kathleen. “Individuals or groups pick families and start shopping! It’s a wonderful project that Frank started.”
Five hundred employees of the F-18 Aircraft Program at Boeing came together this year to adopt the families and teens. A Boeing facilities truck from the program made the delivery to Room.
“I feel honored to be a part of this. It really makes me step back and think how blessed the average American is,” says Natalie Frenz, a flight loads engineer at Boeing who helped deliver the presents. “It’s our obligation to give back to those in need in our community.”
Program director Joann Nowak, O.S.F. agrees.
“This is what Christmas is all about and the families know how blessed they are to receive the gifts,” says Sister Joann. “We are very grateful to our friends at Boeing for the difference they make in the lives of our clients and former clients.”
On behalf of the staff and clients at Room at the Inn, have a wonderful New Year!