Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Make A Difference This Holiday Season

What signals the arrival of the holiday season to you? A wreath on the door, carols on the radio, sales at the mall? For me it's the Phinney Neighbors in Action Giving Tree project. It's our family tradition to find tags for boys who wish for Legos (even though our son is now in college) and girls who want the things my twin daughters have always liked. After we shop together we go home to wrap our gifts and hope that they will light up a face on Christmas Day.

Each year I work with local agencies to plan how our community can help serve their clients during the holiday season. This year we committed to providing over 400 gifts for adults and children of all ages through six local organizations.

Children ranging in age from infants to teens have requested gifts through Broadview Emergency Shelter, Childhaven Therapeutic Childcare Program, and FamilyWorks Food Bank. Client families make a specific gift request for each child and we make a commitment to fulfilling these wishes. At Whitman Middle School, counselors work to provide gifts for students and their older siblings.

Children have often selected toys from catalogs or parents have asked for practical gifts like clothing. Most requests should fall in the affordable $20-$30 range, although some may be more or less. Most toys are widely available at Fred Meyer or Target or at the Toys R Us at Northgate. If you choose to buy clothes, please get a gift receipt in case an exchange is needed.Many teens request gift cards to Fred Meyer, Target, or local movie theatres. Think back to your own teenage years and I believe you’ll appreciate the need for kids this age to make their own choices; shopping is half the fun! To make it easier, the Phinney Neighborhood Preschool Co-op is selling Fred Meyer gift cards at the reception desk of the Phinney Neighborhood Center (6532 Phinney Ave N). A small portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the preschool AND you can fulfill a wish in one easy trip.

This year we’ve added two new agencies to our list of partners: Dorothy Day House, a permanent supportive housing program for formerly homeless women and the Cate Apartments, a nearby program of the Low Income Housing Institute which provides stability for previously homeless families.

Gift requests for Dorothy Day House residents (adults) are available at the Greenwood Senior Center (525 N 85th St), while all other agency gift tags (primarily for younger children and teens) are on a tree at the Phinney Neighborhood Center (6532 Phinney Ave N). Feel free to visit either location and check out a tag, then make a wish come true.

Please return all gifts by Saturday, December 12th to the location where you picked up the tag.

With your help, we’ll be amazed once more at the generosity expressed in our neighborhood!

by Judith Wood, PNA

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