Merry Christmas Issaquah donations set record

January 10, 2012

End of the year donations to Merry Christmas Issaquah sent the fund drive well beyond its $65,000 goal. With $77,362 total donations, the fund drive set a new record, 16 percent ahead of last year. There were 231 donors, also a new record.

The donations ranged from a few dollars to dual donations of $10,000. The proceeds will ensure that Issaquah Community Services has adequate funding to meet the growing needs for emergency financial assistance. During 2011, more than $88,000 in assistance was provided to local families facing eviction or utility shut-off, or just needing a bus ticket.

Merry Christmas Issaquah was first initiated by The Issaquah Press in 1981 when about $1,000 was donated. Over the past three decades, more than $785,000 has been collected to fund ICS in the nonprofit organization’s mission of providing emergency financial aid.

The fund drive is closed for the year, but donations can be sent any time to ICS, P.O. Box 669, Issaquah, WA 98027. ICS is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Learn more or volunteer by emailing

Merry Christmas Issaquah needs help to reach goal

December 27, 2011

The team at Issaquah Community Services — 22 trained volunteers — opens the nonprofit organization’s office each week to offer a hand to people in need, but the volunteers might not be able to serve as many people next year if more donations do not arrive soon.

Issaquah Community Services is the all-volunteer nonprofit organization responsible for dispersing donations to families living inside Issaquah School District boundaries.

Merry Christmas Issaquah is the organization’s most important fundraiser of the year. But the fund is more than $20,000 shy of its goal for the year, and organizers need the dollars to offer rent assistance if eviction is imminent, help with utility bills if the provider is threatening shutoff or emergency transportation.

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Merry Christmas Issaquah benefits diverse clientele

December 20, 2011

Issaquah Community Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people in need, has seen a change in clients in recent years.

Clients at Issaquah Community Services included a local veteran of the Iraq conflict. The organization helped the man — a husband and father facing post-traumatic stress disorder and combat-related injuries in addition to financial troubles — pay rent for the family.

Military benefits did not cover the family’s everyday expenses. Ongoing searches for jobs — for the veteran and his wife — also created financial strain.

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Press Editorial

December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas Issaquah fosters giving spirit

Like the old adage goes, ’tis better to give than receive.

The holiday season is the peak time for giving, as some donors catch the Christmas spirit and others seek to make a donation before the year ends.

Readers face many choices to donate hard-earned dollars to each holiday season, but Issaquah Community Services is the organization many local residents turn to for help to pay the rent or keep the lights on. The organization’s annual Merry Christmas Issaquah fund drive is essential.

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Merry Christmas Issaquah demand continues to grow

December 13, 2011

Sudden hardships can expose people reeling from the effects of a down economy to even more risk — financial ruin and, in extreme cases, homelessness.

Darryl Zewe experienced such a hardship earlier in the year, after relocating from Pennsylvania to Washington. Soon after the move, he turned to Issaquah Community Services for assistance as Puget Sound Energy prepared to shut down the electricity at Zewe’s Issaquah apartment.

“They were so kind and they went way out of their way to provide some money for me,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting the worst.”

Issaquah Community Services President Marilyn Taylor said the organization started to experience increased demand for assistance after the economy weakened late in the past decade.

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Merry Christmas Issaquah inspires giving

December 6, 2011

Sometimes asking for help is difficult.

Alison Yi learned as much as childcare, housing and transportation expenses mounted.

The recent Issaquah transplant logged hours on the road each weekday, shuttling her young children to preschool in Shoreline and then heading to work in the Renton School District. The constant commuting put a strain on a tight budget.

“It was really hard for me to decide, should I really go and get help from somebody who I don’t know?” she said. “I did, and I’m happy that I did. I learned something. There’s a place that you can get help, and have the person who needs help proceed with their goal and their life and be successful.”

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Merry Christmas Issaquah makes a difference all year

November 29, 2011

Issaquah Community Services is highlighting successes to help people in need as the annual Merry Christmas Issaquah fundraising drive opens.

The organization provided a lifeline to Vicky Tranilla as her husband battled cancer.

“We got behind on our bills, and I was paying the medical bills for his cancer instead of paying the bills for the rent and power, because my husband came first,” she said.

Issaquah Community Services is the all-volunteer nonprofit organization responsible for dispersing the donations to families living inside Issaquah School District boundaries. Merry Christmas Issaquah is the organization’s most important fundraiser of the year.

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Kiwanis funds community aid through Salmon Days dinners

September 27, 2011

Key and Builders club members were among those helping out at last year’s Kiwanis Salmon Days booth. Contributed

Thanks to the great weather during last year’s celebration, the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah sold 2,500 pounds of salmon in the course of the city’s annual Salmon Days Festival event.

The community service club even ran out at about 3 p.m. the second day of the festival, according to incoming Kiwanis President Glenn Hall, who is running the group’s booth at this year’s Salmon Days.

Hall said all that fish translates to volunteers having served up about 2,200 dinners at the 2010 Kiwanis booth. Complete with coleslaw and a drink, over the years, the dinners have helped the Kiwanis raise an average of about $17,000 annually.

Hall said he believes the local Kiwanis have offered dinners every year since the inception of Salmon Days. Kiwanis organizers hope the weather this year again will be of the sunny, dry variety and they have upped their usual Salmon Day fish order to 2,500 pounds.

In past years, the Kiwanis ordered 2,000 pounds of fish and then bought more on Saturday depending on sales. The fish is grilled over alder.

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St. Michael’s consecrates church addition

July 5, 2011

On June 19, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church celebrated the consecration of a 4,985-square-foot addition, which virtually doubled the size of the downtown Issaquah church founded in 1953.

St. Michael’s parishioners and church officials celebrate the consecration of a large addition to the downtown Issaquah church June 19. Contributed

While the congregation sang and prayed, Bishop Gregory Rickel proceeded throughout the two floors, blessing new nurseries, Sunday school classrooms, meeting rooms, the music center and the central gathering area.

A highlight of the morning was the inaugural tolling of an antebellum bell newly installed in the tower.

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Merry Christmas Issaquah fund opens for contributions

November 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Issaquah, the emergency-aid fund for families in the Issaquah School District, is now open for 2010 contributions. To meet the growing demand for assistance with rent, utilities and other financial emergencies, the 2010 goal has been set at $60,000 for the annual fund drive.

Last year, $53,077 was donated. The fund was started in 1981 with about $1,000 in donations. Since then, more than $650,000 has been donated.

Merry Christmas Issaquah is the only fund drive that supports the efforts of Issaquah Community Services, a nonprofit agency run completely by volunteers. Three quarters of the annual budget of Issaquah Community Services comes from donations to Merry Christmas Issaquah.

Thanks to the work of volunteers, 100 percent of donations go directly to families in need. The city of Issaquah covers operational costs.

2010 goal: $60,000

Send donations to Merry Christmas Issaquah, c/o The Issaquah Press, P.O. Box 1328, Issaquah, WA 98027. Donation names, but not dollar amounts, will be published unless anonymity is requested.

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