Committed to addressing the basic needs gap for families in Puget Sound region.
Delivering basic needs to families without waitlists or referrals
In 2016, a news story emerged about a 2-year-old girl found at a homeless encampment eating old doughnuts off the ground, with a soiled diaper and fungus-infected toenails. When Star Lalario heard the story on a popular radio show, she became enraged and questioned: “How can young children who are not capable of protecting themselves walk out of a vile, unsafe area and seek help?”
As a child who experienced homelessness and shelters growing up, Star felt she needed to do something; her anger inspired action. She began assembling care packages of diapers, wipes, food, socks and a change of clothes right from her living room and joined the Union Gospel Mission to distribute them to homeless babies and children.
As she volunteered on UGM missions, she met many more families with children in need of basic items. Word quickly spread in the community of a woman who would directly deliver these items without the waitlist or referral process. Neighbors started dropping off donations on Star’s doorstep. Community members called her anytime they saw a family in need.
Star realized just how huge the need was, and decided to seek help in achieving her goal of helping these families. In 2016, she formed the organization’s first board, who agreed that the organization should serve the hardest-to-reach segment of the homeless population: families who may not have access to transportation, cell-phone service, and/or basics for their children.
Star and the team understood that to scale the organization and serve more families, they’d have to rely on an expansive network of volunteers throughout two counties. Monthly, they recruited, trained, equipped, and managed volunteers who upheld our mission of bringing basics to our neighbors.
In doing so, they were able to bridge the gap between one of the least visible segments of the homeless population and social service providers who sometimes are far removed from the clients they serve.