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‘Miracle on Broadway’ helps those most in need


Last updated 11/30/2016 at Noon

The Little Lending Library outside the shop Christmas Gifts On Broadway offers much more than books. Store owner Mary Elmore stocks it with other free items to help ease the burden of the homeless population in downtown Everett.

Inside the 1902 Victorian home that houses Christmas Gifts On Broadway, customers find an enchanting shop that’s chockablock with gift ideas for the season. Everything from one-of-a-kind pieces of art to Christopher Radko glass ornaments to children’s books and toys you won’t find at the big box stores.

Owner Mary Elmore has created a delightful world that makes it easy to escape the stresses of everyday life.

But those stresses are ever-present outside Elmore’s store in downtown Everett. Located at 3224 Broadway, just south of Pacific Avenue, it’s not far from government services, men’s and women’s shelters, and street people who enjoy no such escape.

A couple of years ago, some homeless people even set up camp in the house’s backyard, Elmore said.

“I got to thinking, what can I do besides complain?” she said.

So, a couple of weeks ago, with the help of some friends, Elmore set up a Little Lending Library, a large mailbox-type structure to store free books for the taking.

But she knew the people walking by would need more than books. So she has been stocking it with eyeglasses, snacks, gloves and other items that might help those most in need.

“I wanted to do something besides just books,” Elmore said. “The people who walk by here generally are deprived – homeless, addiction problems, mental illness.

“They shouldn’t be forgotten. Even if you’re homeless, you have a past.”

It took off quickly. Elmore stocks her little library every 2-3 days. Even though the sign says “Take a book or leave a book,” it’s rare that someone gives.

That’s OK with Elmore. It brightens her spirit, particularly at this time of year, to be able to help others.

“I may put in a few surprises before Christmas,” she said. “I put a little toy train in there that went right away.

“It’s really kind of exciting.”

Her neighbor, an attorney, called it a “Miracle on Broadway.”


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