Megan’s Drive Makes a Difference for Wearhouse Shoppers

By Megan Snyder-Camp, Volunteer Donation Drive Host

The first time I was introduced to Treehouse was at an Open House event held in the Wearhouse last year. I was impressed with all the resources Treehouse offers to kids, and particularly the Wearhouse–how store-like it feels and how thoughtfully it’s stocked.

Discovering the Need

Since I have a five-year-old daughter, I made a beeline for the dolls when we first got there. I saw a whole wall of new-in-the-box Barbie’s, but I noticed that 90% of these Barbie’s were white. A Treehouse staff member shared with me that Treehouse serves a very diverse population and that that dolls of color tend to fly off the shelf as soon as they come in. It is a constant challenge for them to secure enough donations to meet the need.

Kids get such comfort from their dolls, and can develop a sense of what’s beautiful from them as well. I decided that I wanted to help Treehouse offer choices that better reflected the diversity of kids shopping at the Wearhouse by hosting a donation drive. I also decided to collect books as well because if we want kids to fall in love with books, we need to be providing them with books that feature diverse heroes. All readers need to have the chance to choose a book with a hero that they can connect with. In order to lose yourself in a book you need to first be able to find yourself there.


Hatching the Plan

I decided to host the drive in a quieter month to have the best chances of catching people’s attention. By hosting the drive in February it also let us continue some of the conversations kids had started in school about Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and during Black History Month. I partnered with three area schools, and asked for their help spreading the word among families. At McDonald International School, the Campfire kids made posters, third graders wrote letters, and we sent a letter home with kids. I also promoted the drive on neighborhood listservs and blogs, in coffee shops and libraries, and helped each location site make attractive and clear signage. Two of the book shops hosted story time events that were also great opportunities to start conversations about why the drive was important. Mockingbird Books, Elliott Bay Book Company, Top Ten Toys, the Richard Hugo House, McDonald International School, Woodland Park Co-op Preschool, and North Seattle Fives Co-op all generously collected items on behalf of kids in foster care.


The Community Comes Together

I was absolutely blown away by the generosity I encountered. Members of the community donated over 300 new diverse dolls and books, and it took me two minivan-trips to drop everything off at the Wearhouse. It was incredible watching those bins fill and knowing that each of those dolls and books would one day go home with a child. I was also grateful for the chance to talk with my own kids about why this matters and how easy it is to be a helper.


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About the Author

Megan Snyder-Camp is a local writer and mother of two. We are so grateful for Megan and all of our dedicated drive hosts who make a difference in the lives of kids in foster care by helping us provide them with the essentials that every child deserves.

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