In 2016, the Seattle homeless charity Mary’s Place received a huge gift from Amazon.
The online retail giant owned a former Travelodge and invited the organization, who help local homeless women, children and families, to set up a shelter there.
All was well until the building came up for demolition.
While Mary’s Place do have a number of shelters across the city, losing any one of them means being able to help fewer people in need.
This is when Amazon came through again with an even bigger gift – a homeless shelter in their new Seattle development.
And this time it’s for keeps.
Giving up around half of a planned new building in Seattle will provide more than 47,000 square feet of space to Mary’s Place.
That’s enough room for 65 families.
You can see the moment Marty Hartman, executive director of Mary’s Place, was told the news in the video above.
In 2015, Seattle’s leaders declared a homelessness state of emergency, and tent cities can be seen under the city’s interstates today.
Some say Amazon have been slow to help the Seattle community.
A study in 2012 revealed another local industrial behemoth, Boeing, gave $3.1 million in local philanthropic efforts.
Amazon gave nothing.
Providing space for the homeless in their own building appears to be addressing this, although some aren’t convinced.
The video featuring Marty Hartman has been criticized for being a little too staged, while others question whether PR interests influenced the decision to have the shelter physically connected to the company.
“Doing things like this may be in its enlightened self-interest, right on site for the world to see,” Alan Durning, executive director of Sightline Institute, a nonprofit public policy research organization, told The New York Times.
For its part, Amazon explains its employees are frequent visitors and volunteers at the existing shelter, and sharing a space will allow them to pitch in even more.
Motives aside, donating half a new building to a local homeless charity can ultimately only really be applauded.
via NPR | Images Mary’s Place