Puyallup Tribe gifts the homeless with Christmas giveaway

The whole gang of volunteers gathered for a photo op before the giveaway began. Photo by Matt Nagle

Each year as Christmas Day approaches, Puyallup Tribal Councilmember Sylvia Miller organizes a giveaway event for our area’s homeless population, and she carried that legacy forth this year on Saturday morning, Dec. 16. In previous years the giveaway was held in a gravel parking lot near the Tacoma Dome, but a new location this time, the parking lot of the tribe’s administrative building, worked well and attracted long lines of folks grateful for the early Christmas.

Crowds remained steady throughout the day, keeping helpers of all ages busy. Photo by Matt Nagle

Spread out on long tables were piles of clothing, coats, sleeping bags and tents, gloves and hand-warmers, non-perishable foods and much more. Off to the side, Crime Stoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County Executive Director Ed Troyer and his helpers distributed new toys, in keeping with Troyer’s busy holiday schedule of bringing Christmas cheer to those whose holiday may not be as bright otherwise.

Keeping helpers of all ages busy like UW First Nations Junior Princess Aiyana Eaglespeaker (left) and Puyallup Wellness Princess Chandra Eaglespeaker. Photo by Matt Nagle


Among those who return each year to give of their time to help out is State Rep. David Sawyer (D-Tacoma). “This is what it means to care for your neighbors and community members,” he said. “It’s what the holiday season is supposed to be about. I’m grateful to the Puyallup Tribe for leading this event every year that helps so many people in our community.”

Giveaway organizer Puyallup Tribal Councilwoman Sylvia Miller helps unload the Puyallup Tribe’s Giving Bus. Photo by Matt Nagle

On this chilly, lightly rainy day, fires were lit in portable steel, woodburning fire pits for folks to gather round, and steaming hot, homemade soup was served courtesy of chef Lisa Earl, executive director of the tribe’s Little Wild Wolves Youth and Community Center. Hot dogs roasted on barbeque grills and hot chocolate were distributed to anyone who asked.

Miller expressed much gratitude for everyone who helped make the giveaway possible. Among them are Amy Ruble, Washington House Democrats deputy chief of staff; Brian Duthie, first responder with the Everett Fire Department; Rep. David Sawyer and his legislative assistant Kacie Masten; and Rep. Melanie Stambaugh (R-Puyallup).

“Big thanks to the Puyallup Tribal Council for caring about the less fortunate individuals in this community. You all really live up to our given name, the Puyallup Tribe (the giving people),” Miller said. “I want to thank all the tribal departments and individuals that donate to this worthy cause. You made many people happy that people do care. I would like to give a special thanks to all the volunteers, from the youth to each elder that spent their day helping with this yearly event. You are the most awesome individuals of all. Thanks to Ed Troyer of Crime Stoppers; John Weymer at Tacoma Weekly; Linda Dillon, director of Flames of Recovery; and my family – I cannot thank you all enough.”

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