Christmas comes early to McKinnell House
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The McKinnell House is getting a sprinkle of Christmas joy at their emergency temporary shelter a little early this year.
On Sunday, the Abate Club (Alaska Bikers Advocating Training and Education) will be presenting gifts to youth. The McKinnell House works to provide temporary shelter for youth experiencing homelessness with a focus on finding them stable housing.
“They light up. It’s Christmas in July,” Capt. Denice Delgado, the Anchorage social services director for Salvation Army Alaska, said. “And they don’t have to unwrap a present. It’s actually unwrapped ready for them to use right now.”
The McKinnell House is currently at capacity with all 16 of its units filled. The shelter is housing 30 children, with ages ranging from one month to 18 years old. The shelter said they try to celebrate all federal holidays, but events like this provide some extra joy for homeless youth, who can sometimes be part of a forgotten homeless population.
According to the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, 18.9% of Anchorage’s homeless population are minors, a situation that Delgado knows firsthand.
“As a child who was homeless as a kid, it’s huge how it plays a part. Having the distribution in life, going from place to place,” Delgado said. “So we want to make sure all kiddos have a safe environment to flourish in.”
Delgado hopes that events like Sunday’s early Christmas gift allow youth experiencing homelessness to have a sense of normality.
“This is just an added bump, especially to their mental health and well-being to bring some joy into their life, when it can be downright hard sometime being in a shelter,” Delgado said.
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