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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Cougar Mountain Zoo hosts 23rd annual Issaquah Reindeer Festival

November 29, 2011

One of Santa’s sled-propulsion units walks about for exercise before Christmas Eve last year in the front yard of Santa’s House at Cougar Mountain Zoo. By Greg Farrar

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.

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Issaquah decks the halls with holiday happenings

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.

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Issaquah Christmas fund beats goal

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

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Donations needed to help fund for needy meet goal

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

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