Homelessness is an epidemic in Burien. The general consensus is that it’s a complicated problem requiring a multi-faceted response.
Transform Burien, a non-profit headquartered at Burien’s old Sunnydale School, is working to be part of that response.
“We want to help our neighbors in practical ways,” says one weekly volunteer. “We give them food and clothing, soap, sometimes a backpack. We get to know each person as an individual and treat everyone with dignity. These are things that can help a person find his feet, get back his sense of self, and be in a better position to make healthy decisions.”
Transform Burien acts as a service hub for local homeless individuals and people experiencing poverty. Twice a week, they open their food bank and clothing bank. Free hot meals are served up to three times a week. In a typical month, the organization also hosts King County’s mobile medical clinic, laundry service, showers, housing assistance, and veterinary care.
Founded more than a decade ago by several Christian pastors, Transform Burien has grown along with the need. On a typical service day, they may connect with hundreds of individuals, most of whom are repeat visitors.
Director Greg Henken notes, “Transform Burien provides love, comfort, and a place to be heard and accepted. We want to offer the ingredients for healing and recovery. It’s about putting God’s word into action.”
When asked whether these services enable people, Don Berg, an original organizer and steady presence at the center, says, “Yes, we are enabling them. We are enabling them to survive until they can get their lives together. These people are our neighbors, and we are called to love them, to help them.”
Transform Burien invites community members to support this work. Volunteer opportunities abound. Donations of food, clothing, and financial support are welcome.