November 29, 2011
First held in 1988, the annual Issaquah Reindeer Festival runs Dec. 1-23 at the Cougar Mountain Zoo.
Zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot said the event regularly attracts up to 10,000 visitors. Some travel relatively long distances to make it to the festival, even coming from well east of the Cascades.
“It’s a family tradition for many people,” Barfoot said.
Although the zoo is technically closed for the season, 10 of Santa’s reindeer team will be ready and awaiting visitors daily.
At the Magic Forest, visitors can hand feed the South American reindeer. And among numerous other activities, kids and parents also can visit Santa in his house and get a picture with the jolly old elf.
Visitors can also listen to stories read by an elf, see Santa’s sleigh, shop and pick up hot drinks and snacks. The younger set also can write a letter to Santa and then place it in his personal mailbox.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Santa will take a lunch break roughly from 1-1:30 p.m. daily. Pictures with Santa are $15 for the first shot and $10 for additional shots. You can take your own pictures for a fee.
November 29, 2011
All around Issaquah, it’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays.
From downtown Issaquah to Gilman Village to the historic train depot, signs of the coming holidays are starting to sprout.
Gilman Village Merchants and the Cascade Team Real Estate are the primary sponsors for a holiday happening from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 10 at St. George’s Square in Gilman Village, 355 N.W. Gilman Blvd.
January 11, 2011
The Merry Christmas Issaquah fund drive closed Jan. 10 with donations of $66,042 — a 24 percent increase from last year’s donations.
Only a week earlier, donations were well below the targeted goal of $60,000, but an anonymous $10,000 donation and 21 other donations that arrived last week made this the most successful fund drive in the 30 year history of Issaquah Community Services. Read more
January 4, 2011
It is very likely the Merry Christmas Issaquah emergency aid fund could end with less than the goal for only the second time in its 30-year history.
It usually takes about 200 individual donors for the fund to reach its goal, and nearly that many have already contributed. Donations received as of Jan. 3 were equal to 2009 donations of $53,000. Read more
December 28, 2010
$21,000 needed to reach 2010 goal
Issaquah Community Services opens its office one hour a week to meet with people in financial crisis. It’s not typically a happy place, but lately it’s had its moments of hope and joy.
Over the past couple of months, at least three former clients who had previously received help with rent or utilities or maybe a car repair have stopped in to thank the Issaquah Community Services volunteers and share their good news — they got a new job! Two reported high-tech jobs, while another is now a full-time nanny. The smiles said it all — their life was looking brighter and more secure. Read more
December 21, 2010
The Christmas spirit means helping others
Christmas giving will reach its heights over the next few days, but year-end charitable giving still has another 10 days to go. Most donors have their priorities, choosing donations that match their own passions, and usually including a few checks for human services.
Issaquah has a bevy of great agencies to donate to, but Issaquah Community Services stands out for the emergency financial relief it provides for area families fighting to keep the heat on and the rent paid while they seek new jobs or seek other resources of help. Read more
December 14, 2010
Emergency relief for Issaquah area families is the one and only focus of Issaquah Community Services. But Issaquah Community Services could not exist without contributions from others. Two-thirds of its annual budget comes from donations to the annual fund drive known as Merry Christmas Issaquah.
But Issaquah Community Services also couldn’t be there for those in need without dedicated volunteers who meet with those seeking help, giving referrals and a small bit of financial help.
Issaquah Community Services volunteers work in pairs on a rotating schedule 9-10 a.m., five days a week. One busy day earlier this fall, there was the usual knock on the door, located at the fire station on Sunset Way. Read more
December 14, 2010
There are few classical holiday songs as iconic as Handel’s “Messiah.” St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church invites the community to experience the choral masterpiece while helping others in need.
The church presents Sing & Play-Along Messiah at 2 p.m. Dec. 19. Singers of all ages, abilities and skill levels are invited to join the choir and instrumentalists comfortable playing Baroque music are welcome to join the orchestra. Everyone else is invited to the experience, which benefits the Merry Christmas Issaquah fund — 100 percent of donations go toward helping local families in need. Read more
December 7, 2010
The Merry Christmas Issaquah 2010 fund drive is open, just as the bank account for emergency aid to local families is nearly depleted.
It’s often this way. It’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Issaquah Community Services, the all-volunteer nonprofit organization that dispenses the donated funds, gives all it can each year to a growing number of requests from Issaquah-area residents.
The organization counts on new donations to cover the next year’s requests. Those requests are up 65 percent in the last two years, so it is rare for anyone to get more than $200 in assistance with rent, utilities, a car repair or another dire need.
December 7, 2010
It is time to overcome hardship with giving
Let’s get right to the heart of the matter. Government budget cuts in 2011 are going to hurt the people who need the most help. With the federal, state, county and city dealing with huge revenue deficits — just when layoffs, furloughs and medical cost hikes are hurting most — the shredded social safety net is going to fail a lot of folks.
That’s why it is so important, in fact imperative, that this Christmas season we try to keep our local charities uppermost in our giving impulses. It’s the worst hardships those in need in the next calendar year will face that we need to anticipate and head off here and now.
In case a memory refresher will do some good, these are a few local places that can use our spirit of generosity:
Eastside Baby Corner in Issaquah provides for children in need from birth to age 12 throughout the Eastside. To quote their website, “What you give, we give, to Eastside families struggling with job loss, homelessness, medical crisis and poverty.”