Issaquah cash mob aims to stock food bank

November 13, 2012

The indefatigable team behind recent cash mobs at Issaquah businesses is asking consumers to shop BOGO — buy one and, in a holiday season change-up, give one.

The next cash mob is due to descend on specialty grocer Champion Grocery on Nov. 17, and organizers encourage shoppers to buy something for themselves, and something extra for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

In a cash mob, a group of people descends on a business to buy, buy, buy. The destination is revealed through social media services. Then, the mob pops up at the business to browse and shop.

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King County Metro Transit holiday schedule starts on Veterans Day

November 9, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 9, 2012

King County Metro Transit bus riders should prepare for reduced service in upcoming weeks, starting Nov. 12, as the nation observes Veterans Day.

The transit agency operates on a reduced weekday schedule on several holidays through January — including a full week of reduced service at the end of December.

The planned reductions arrive during a slow period, as Metro Transit experiences a reduction in weekday riders — estimated to reach 15 percent or more systemwide.

The mass transit agency uses a Sunday schedule for several of the upcoming holidays. The reduced weekday schedule features more bus service than on weekends, but less service than on regular weekdays. Officials estimate the limited schedule saves Metro Transit about $1 million per year.

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Thanksgiving fundraiser aims to stuff food bank’s coffers

November 6, 2012

Runners race in the 2011 Issaquah Turkey Trot 5K near Pickering Barn during the holiday event. Contributed

Heather Matthews set out to raise dollars for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank amid the busy holiday season and, in the process, created a Thanksgiving tradition.

In 2010, she launched the Issaquah Turkey Trot, a 5K fundraiser, after she ran in similar races in Seattle and decided to import the idea to Issaquah to raise dollars for the local food bank.

The 3.12-mile race returns Nov. 22 for another holiday outing. The event is geared for families and, like a treasured recipe passed from generation, is a Thanksgiving tradition for some participants.

“People are looking for a way to give back and for something to do that day that shows they’re thankful for what they have,” Matthews said.

The initial Issaquah Turkey Trot raised more than $4,600 for the nonprofit food bank and, last year, donations amounted to $8,000 and more than 200 pounds of food. Matthews set a goal to raise $15,000 for the food bank at the upcoming event.

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JAMFEST basketball tournament to take over Eastridge Church

July 17, 2012

Eastridge Church will be filled with hoop dreams next month as it holds this summer’s JAMFEST Aug. 11.

JAMFEST will include a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, a kid’s bicycle show and other family activities.

“We’re just wanting to create a fun family event with a great cause attached to it,” Executive Team Pastor Steve Jamison said. “And our plan is to kind of create a fun festival feel with a lot of different activities going on during the day.”

The main event of the day will be the basketball tournament, which will have brackets ages 9 and older, along with brackets for different skill levels, including Top Gun, Competitive, Recreational, Older Than Dirt and Below the Net.

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DUI crackdown continues through holiday

December 27, 2011

Police urged motorists to consider a designated driver on New Year’s Eve as a statewide campaign to nab drunken drivers continues through the holiday season.

The effort runs through Jan. 2. The campaign means beefed-up DUI enforcement on Issaquah and King County roads, as the Issaquah Police Department and other law enforcement agencies join the crackdown. The seasonal campaign started on Thanksgiving.

Washington law enforcement officers advise all holiday partygoers to designate a sober driver, call a cab or choose not to drink alcohol.

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Holiday travelers can expect a white Christmas on mountain passes

December 21, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. Dec. 21, 2011

Travelers can expect a white Christmas on Washington mountain passes.

Forecasts call for a snowstorm to hit the mountain passes just in time for Christmas holiday travel — and travelers should plan to pack tire chains and a winter kit alongside gifts before hitting the road.

Meteorologists said to expect a storm system moving into the mountains late Saturday, Christmas Eve, into Sunday, Christmas, and heavy snow could hit areas above 2,500 feet — or all Washington mountain pass highways.

If the Christmas and New Year’s holidays fall on a weekend, traffic historically increases nearly 40 percent compared to a typical December weekend. Historic traffic volumes during the Christmas holiday rank 12 percent lower than Thanksgiving.

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Issaquah Turkey Trot collects $8,000 for local food bank

December 13, 2011

Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank Executive Director Cori Kauk (left) accepts the donation from Heather, Mason, Wesley and Tom Matthews (from left). Contributed

The runners at the Thanksgiving morning Issaquah Turkey Trot — some dressed in Pilgrim- and poultry-inspired costumes — raised $8,000 for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

The donation comes as the food bank serves clients during the holiday season. Race organizers presented a check to food bank managers Dec. 9.

“The spirit that was there that day — everybody came together. I felt that united our community, especially for the purpose that we had,” organizer Heather Matthews said. “It gives me a lot of happiness to see what a great community we belong to.”

Participants also collected 213 pounds of food to donate to the food bank.

Overall, more than 600 runners participated in the 5K race. Matthews said a man came dressed as a Pilgrim and another group came dressed as the feathered characters from “Angry Birds.”

The cool, clear conditions led more than 50 people to participate in the run the morning of the event. (The morning the Issaquah Turkey Trot debuted in November 2010, snow greeted the runners.)

Cori Kauk, food bank executive director, also ran in the Issaquah Turkey Trot.

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Teacher’s trek through rainforest blossoms in Liberty classrooms

December 13, 2011

Liberty High School biology teacher Erin Stephens spent a few days living with a modest farming family in this home in Costa Rica. Contributed

Probably somewhat predictably, her students wanted to know, among other things, what a Costa Rican McDonald’s looks like.

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Holidays highlight need at Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank

December 13, 2011

Barb Main (left), an Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank volunteer, helps Marta Cotreras and husband Sotero, of Newcastle, fill their grocery needs for the week during food bank hours Dec. 1. By Greg Farrar

The line outside the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank on a cold December morning is long, and the people clutching canvas bags came bundled against the chill.

The pace inside the plain downtown building is swift. Clients, bags in hand, spirit through another line and place orders with the volunteers behind the counter. Hamburger Helper, macaroni and cheese, and other family dinner staples disappear from the shelves behind the counter as volunteers slip the items inside clients’ bags.

Elsewhere, clients choose from fresh fruits and vegetables, and, of course, canned goods beneath a sign reading, “Take what you need but need what you take.”

The people relying on the food bank for assistance comprise a diverse group. Chinese, Russian and Spanish phrases punctuate the air around the line each morning.

Clients also vary in age. The food bank serves more than 3,200 clients from throughout the Issaquah School District. The group includes more than 1,200 children ages 3 to 17, and more than 460 people 65 and older.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters donate to food bank

December 13, 2011

In late November, Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters, members of Local 2878, staked out the Issaquah Commons to fill a 24-foot truck for the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Firefighters and other union members sought food and much-needed winter clothing for the food bank.

The effort generated 15,860 pounds of mostly food and some clothing items, plus $1,135 in cash donations.

“Through the generosity of so many people from the public, and the support in our venture over the three days from the Issaquah Commons shopping center management group, we were successful in helping so many in need this year,” EFR Capt. Ben Lane said. “Weather conditions were cold and somewhat wet at times, but it didn’t dampen our holiday spirits throughout the three-day event, and it certainly didn’t stop the public from dropping by and donating in a big way!”

Each year, EFR members join public schools, churches and other organizations on the year-round food drive program offered through the union.

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