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Washington Charity Celebrates Holiday Early with Boost from ATGSTORES.COM

Homestead Community, a new Tacoma-area nonprofit with a mission to house children in the foster children system and at-risk youth, is celebrating the holidays early this year thanks in part to support provided by home furnishings e-tailer ATGStores.com.

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Exterior of Homestead Community’s First Tacoma Home for Children in Foster Care

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JJ House awaiting new paint and arrival of furnishings from ATGSTORES.COM

The organization recently held a soft open house at its first property, known as JJ House, and one visitor had an idea about how they could start welcoming children into the home ahead of schedule. What happened next left the Homestead team and local community stunned.

Mike Merz, an ATGStores.com commercial account executive, mentioned at the open house that the company might like to help. After he took news of the project back to the office, Rachel Daunais, ATGStores.com’s national PR manager, reached out to the nonprofit with an offer to fully furnish and paint the interior of the five-bedroom property.

“We all broke down in tears when we received the call from ATGStores.com,” said Sue Braaten, Homestead Community founder and board president. “When they decided to provide new, modern furnishings, and really take an interest in our mission, it set us up for success in ways we never would have imagined.” The contribution fits the Homestead Community strategy to a tee. Sue who, along with her husband, Ken, owns Best Western Wesley Inn & Suites in Gig Harbor, Washington always emphasizes, “Nothing is too good for these kids.”

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The donation and two-day volunteer effort are part of the ATGStores.comAll That’s Good Deeds” philanthropy program, which the Kirkland, Washington company started in 2014 as a way to give back to local communities.

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ATGSTORES.COM President Michelle Newbery

ATGStores.com is thrilled with the work at JJ House, and is excited to welcome Homestead Community into our family of philanthropic partnerships,” said ATGStores.com President Michelle Newbery. “We’re confident in the Homestead team’s mission and are happy to support it.”

In November 2015, the Seattle Times quoted a 17 percent decline in licensed foster homes in Washington State, as reported by the Department of Social and Health Services. This means that Homestead Community couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Children in the foster care system have special challenges other children don’t have,” Braaten said.  “Through no fault of their own, they’re separated from their biological parents and sometimes forced to move dozens of times, which can cause a great deal of emotional trauma.”

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Sue Braaten of Homestead Community

The Tacoma nonprofit represents an effort by community leaders to stop the movement of children in foster care as well as provide safe spaces for homeless and at-risk youth. Its goal is to create housing solutions for every child, and they see this house as a model for the organization.

Homestead Community will host a free community dinner for kids on December 22nd and a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in early January. You can find more information online at homesteadcommunity.org.