Buy a Christmas tree; help with homeless meal

Toby Partney loads  a Christmas tree for Nicole Baker and her daughter Kaybrein

Toby Partney loads a Christmas tree for Nicole Baker and her daughter Kaybrein

Anyone who buys a Christmas tree at a lot on 1637 W. Meeker S. in Kent will help support a weekly homeless dinner as well as plans for a new community center.

Kent small-business owner Brian Raynes, who spearheads a weekly Thursday evening homeless dinner, came up with the idea to sell Christmas trees to raise money. Proceeds from the sales will help buy food for the homeless dinner and raise funds for the proposed Hope Community Center.

The lot sits in front of a vacant building that the Rev. Jimmie James wants to convert into a community center. James serves as executive director of Holistic Opportunities for Personal Empowerment, also known as H.O.P.E., a nonprofit group that hopes to open the community center early next year.

The center initially will serve as a drop-in center for teens.

“A miracle will happen,” Raynes said during an interview Wednesday at the tree lot. “That place will get open.”

Volunteers will sell trees from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Dec. 24. Raynes plans to keep the lot open as late as midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

“Our goal is to sell 1,000 to 1,500 trees to raise money for the Hope Center and the homeless dinner,” Raynes said.

Customers can choose from among hundreds of Douglas and noble firs. Tree prices range from $20 to $80. Wreaths cost $19 and garland is sold for $25 for 25 feet.

Raynes started the weekly homeless dinner last year at the parking lot of the B & T auto detail shop he runs at 416 Railroad Avenue S. in downtown Kent.

An average of 70 to 80 people have attended recent dinners run by Raynes and a group of volunteers. Nearly 130 people attended a special Thanksgiving meal Nov. 28. Those who attended that meal also received backpacks with items such as a blanket, flashlight, batteries, hats, gloves and toothpaste.

“With the community support we’ve had for the homeless feed, it’s been doing really well,” Raynes said.

One local business donated tents to provide shelter to the homeless during the Thursday meal.

More volunteers are needed by Raynes to help with the sale of Christmas trees. He’s looking for people to hold signs along West Meeker Street for the lot.

After Christmas, Raynes will pick up trees for $5 to anyone who signs up for the service.

For more information, to volunteer or to make donations, call Raynes at 253-332-8010 or e-mail him at

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Kent Police use drone, K-9 unit to capture assault suspect

Man had fled after fight with security guard at apartment complex along SE Kent-Kangley Road

Jail bars. File photo
Renton man convicted in 2018 Des Moines homicide

Jurors found 28-year-old Yourhighness Jeramiah Bolar of Renton guilty of two felony charges.

One of two victims identified in fiery Kent crash

Kristen Anne Meyers, 53, died in May 11 crash on West Hill, according to medical examiner

City-owned ShoWare Center in Kent loses $742,675 in 2023

Losses lower than projected but expenses continue to exceed revenue at 6,200-seat arena

Kent firefighters extinguish two fires on the same morning | Photos

Friday, May 17 at apartment leasing office in the Valley and at a vacant East Hill house

Courtesy Photo, City of Kent
City of Kent population drops by 1,051 in 2023 compared to 2022

Decline similar to many cities of 50,000 or more across the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau

Kent Police Blotter: April 25 to May 8

Incidents include burglaries, robberies, shootings

Rape charges dismissed against former Kent school bus driver

Prosecutors decide they could not prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt due to medical tests

Feds indict 9 South King County residents on drug trafficking charges

Those accused from Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Enumclaw

A screenshot of King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn speaking about a proposed amendment for the proposed $20 minimum wage ordinance. (Screenshot)
King County approves $20.29 minimum wage for unincorporated areas

Councilmember Reagan Dunn and more than a dozen business owners argued tips and health care expenses should be a part of the new wage. The council passed the ordinance without the amendment.

Dave Upthegrove. COURTESY PHOTO
Upthegrove one of seven candidates for state lands commissioner

His King County Council member’s district includes part of Kent

COURTESY PHOTO, King County Elections
Candidates file for Kent-area races for Congress, Legislature

Incumbents face challengers in two Congressional contests and four state House races