District schools making it easier to give to the needy

December 8, 2008

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Issaquah School District students and their families are hitting the aisles of local stores to help make the holidays a bit brighter for those in need. Every school in the district is ramping up its annual holiday giving campaign, which benefits the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. 

Beaver Lake Middle School kicks off its weeklong food and gift card drive Dec. 8, according to Lisa Abraham, parent coordinator for the event.

The students hope to raise more than $3,000 in gift cards and more than 2,000 donated items, Abraham said. 

To meet their goals, the students have challenged each other’s first-period classes in a competition. 

Other schools, like Briarwood Elementary, are also beginning their gift collections. 

Briarwood staff and students have adopted five families for the holidays and are conducting a drive for the food bank, said Principal Drew Terry. 

To help maximize the amount of gifts for families, the school has set up a Giving Tree. Each star on the tree represents a gift or a wish that students or parents can take home, shop for and bring back to the school. 

“The community is great and our students have been wonderful,” said Cherie Meier, director of the food and clothing bank. “In the month of November alone, they brought in 14,000 pounds of food. That is a really, really, very positive thing that our schools are teaching them.” 

Giving Trees help spread out the amount of gifts families are responsible for, as many are also watching their spending this season. 

Every little bit helps, Meier said.

“Some people think that $5 won’t help or that it doesn’t go far,” she said. “But it does. We wouldn’t have a problem with our budget if everyone thought to give $5. I know this is a scary time for people. I understand. But hopefully, they’ll remember the food bank.” 

The food bank also needs help filling Adopt-A-Family requests, especially for families with five or more people, Meier said. 

Residents interested in sponsoring a family for the holidays, or joining with others to sponsor a family should call the food bank. Staff members will provide you with additional instructions.

If you can’t adopt a family, you can always drop off new presents, like a digital camera; or gift cards for movies or CD stores; and used, working electronics, like Nintendo systems, Gameboys or Xboxes. Gift cards to stores, like Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyer, McDonald’s and Target, are also appreciated. 

“Even a gift for a child, a gift card or bringing in cash will make our budget go a whole lot further,” Meier said. 

The food bank is also always looking for volunteers. Meier said. The food and clothing bank will be open during Christmas break and volunteers are needed to help stock shelves. 

Meier is also looking for volunteers who can drive to pickup donations every Wednesday morning from both QFC stores on the plateau. 

How to help 

Donate food

Large containers of juice or juice boxes; peanut butter; tuna; beef stew; chili; spaghetti sauces, pastas and cans of spaghetti products; sugar or brown sugar; flour; meats; cereal; baby formula and fruit; diapers (size 3 and up); paper products, like toilet paper and feminine hygiene products; toothpaste; and cold remedies and aspirin.

Donate clothing or warm supplies

Gloves, hats, warm winter jackets, sweaters, new underwear, and sleeping bags and blankets. Make sure the items you bring in are new, gently worn or in good condition, and that they are clean.

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com.  Comment on this article at www.isssaquahpress.com. 

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