Photo depicting a line of Black- and female-presenting individuals dancing along. Most of the individuals are wearing T-shirts that either have text reading "Love Train Play Street" or "Women United."

Winter Wonderland Event Celebrates Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren

by Elizabeth Turnbull

Women United ensures that “kinship caregivers” — grandparents who are raising their grandchildren — are taken care of and celebrated all year round, including Christmas. 

This Saturday, Dec. 18, the nonprofit is hosting a Winter Wonderland event at Renton’s Angel of Hope Engagement Center from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. There, under the glow of Christmas lights and immersed in Christmas music, caregivers and children are invited to celebrate the holiday with chili, cornbread, Christmas cookies, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and spiced apple cider. Gifts will be provided for those in attendance. 

Alesia Cannady, the founder of Women United, which focuses on grandmothers raising grandchildren, is drawing gift donations from toy drives and is calling on community help to provide more gifts as well. 

When asked why the event was important, Cannady responded poetically. “I will say simply this,” Cannady wrote in an email to the Emerald, “a dream is a wish the heart makes … then you believe it.”

The organization had three ongoing Toy Drives at the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, King County Fire District 20, and Forum Social House. Canady has also partnered with Toys for Tots. Collected toys will go to families registered for the Winter Wonderland event as well as for kinship families throughout Seattle, Kent, Auburn, and Catholic Community Services.

In addition to presents and holiday food, the event will host the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle COVID-19 Vaccination Van where participants can receive vaccinations administered by Dunia Health Clinic in Skyway. 

Individuals wishing to donate to the event can do so at the King County Fire District 20 during office hours and at the Angel of Hope Engagement Center up until Friday, Dec. 17. The toy drive is accepting gifts for children ages 0 to 18.

Elizabeth Turnbull is a journalist with reporting experience in the U.S. and the Middle East. She has a passion for covering human-centric issues and doing so consistently.

📸 Featured Image: Alesia Cannady leads the 2017 Love Train March near her home in Skyway. (Photo: Matt Mills McKnight)

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