December 22, 2008
Christmas fund is an Issaquah tradition
The Merry Christmas Issaquah emergency aid fund is now halfway to its 2008 goal. Each year, the committed volunteers at Issaquah Church and Community Services wonder what they will do, how many people they might have to turn away, if donations to the Christmas fund don’t arrive as expected. About 90 percent of the year’s emergency aid budget comes from people and businesses in the community who choose to help their Issaquah neighbors when times are tough.
Church and Community Services has few operational expenses. The city of Issaquah provides a space where volunteers meet with clients and enough money to cover a phone, banking and postage. The Issaquah Press provides all the advertising and publicity for the fund drive, so every donated dollar can go directly to those in need. There isn’t another nonprofit in the city that can boast such low overhead, a prime determining factor for many donors as they choose where to send a year-end check.
Last year’s total donations were just shy of the $50,000 mark. Almost every year, the total is a bit higher than the year before, growing from about $1,000 collected in 1981 when Merry Christmas Issaquah got its start at the urging of local pastors who were inundated with requests for help.
A little help with the rent or the winter’s bigger-than-usual power bill is most often the request, but sometimes a car repair, prescription or a bus voucher is all that’s needed to keep a family from despair. Church and Community Services volunteers make payment arrangements, never handing out cash.
To help, send a check to Merry Christmas Issaquah, c/o The Issaquah Press, P.O. Box 1328, Issaquah, WA 98027, or drop off at 45 Front St. S.