A giving community flexes its muscle in Snoqualmie Valley

December 1, 2010

By Staff

The need is great every year.

Despite the cold, more than 300 families went to the Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank last week, seeking a little help for the cupboard.

Luckily for the Valley, the community’s generosity is pretty great every year, too.

Ways abound to spell solidarity in the Valley around the holidays. The North Bend-based Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank and the Kiwanis-sponsored Giving Tree campaign both are hitting it into overdrive as the holiday season begins in earnest.

“We live in a very giving community,” said Heidi Dukich, director of the food bank.

With the economy on the mend, the community also houses people in need, Dukich said. It’s a mistake to think of these people as freeloaders, she added.

“They get a hand up, not a hand out,” she said. “They come and they receive kindness and respect. Many of them are working and they just need some help.”

It’s not all about the food at the food bank, Dukich said. A big part of it is making a connection with people. That, she said, is how you build a community.

“Touching the lives of people who are in difficult times is wonderful and it’s what makes our community great to be part of,” she said.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving was a busy day at the food bank, with 16 volunteers helping.

Although Christmas is less than a month away, there is already another campaign for children of poor families under way.

The Giving Tree is collecting toys in 12 locations across the Valley and will collect them until Dec. 15.

Tina Maloney, the campaign’s chairperson said the Giving Tree goes back almost 15 years in the Valley.

On Dec. 15, volunteers will take all of the toys collected to Si View Park. Once the toys are there, Maloney and others will contact people who have signed up for toys for their children at the food bank.

“They’ll make an appointment,” Maloney said, “and they’ll come shop for their kids.”

Sign-up sheets will be available Dec. 8 and 15.

Parents are given points to shop with. One point equals about $10. Each parent gets between five and six points per child, or between $50 and $60 of shopping money per child.

The Kiwanis’ Giving Tree is taking donations at the city library, Cascade Office Supply, Encompass, QFC, Safeway, Ace Hardware and the Moose Lodge in North Bend; at Snoqualmie Falls Credit Union, Steve’s Doughnuts, IGA and City Hall in Snoqualmie; and at Hauglie Insurance in Fall City.

The Kiwanis’ high school branch, Key Club, is also collecting toys at Mount Si High School.

Children up to age 18 are eligible for a gift. Gift cards are OK; live pets as gifts are not, Maloney said.

Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or smoraga@snovalleystar.com.

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