Pastors from five Churches dedicated the New Bethlehem Family Day Center at a luncheon of sandwiches, including children’s artwork on paper bags with cookies.
On November 16, 2016 Kirkland City Councilman Toby Nixon, dedicated the New Bethlehem Family Day Center with a story about his youth in Southern California. Back in the 60’s his father had a good job building rocket motors for the NASA space program. Unfortunately after an accident where all the bones in both his father’s feet were broken he was not able to return to work even after several surgeries. His mother left the family and Toby, his younger brother and his father had to fend for themselves. After the workman’s compensation ran out they had to use the surplus food program, DSHS and Medicaid in order to pay for expenses, as they had nothing else.
One day his younger brother was hit with a baseball bat from one of the gang members in the neighborhood they were living in. His father decided to move north. After packing what little belongings they had left into cardboard boxes they managed to get to the Greyhound station and loaded them on the bus to Reading California. Toby remembers the feeling of having all his life packed into the boxes stored in the belly of the Greyhound bus as they drove into Reading. It was about midday and they somehow made it to the Courthouse where his father talked to a social worker who helped them. The local Hotel had a special $5 per night rate for those who could not afford it. Soon they settled in an apartment in Reading and Toby grew up, went to College and raised a family. The point is it homelessness can happen to anyone.
Susan Beals, Steve Roberts and I toured the basement which includes showers and laundry facilities, a small kitchen, four computers and areas for children to study and read. About 10 people are using the facility now during the day and it is expected to fill to capacity of about 50 people soon because of the homeless problem.