Our giving list: So many ways to help those in need this season

Brighten someone's holiday by giving back this season.
Brighten someone’s holiday by giving back this season.

The temperature is dropping, the sun is setting earlier and the holidays are approaching with each passing day. Most of us are thinking about what to bring to a holiday potluck, how to decorate our trees or which gifts will make our loved ones smile, but the holiday season is also an undeniably perfect time to give back to the community.

If you want to help those in need this holiday—or, in some cases, any time throughout the year—here are a few local opportunities.

Toy Shop and Food Bank—Edmonds United Methodist Church
The Edmonds United Methodist Church will be hosting its annual Toy Shop, which gives parents in need an opportunity to get Christmas toys for their children, on Saturday, Dec. 7. Donations of toys, bicycles, decorations, wrapping supplies and books will be accepted in a collection box at the Edmonds United Methodist Church’s office located at 828 Caspers Street until noon on Friday, Dec. 6. Cash or gift card donations should be handed directly to someone working in the church’s office. Other collection boxes are at Pancake Haus and starting this weekend at Harbor Square Athletic Club and Walnut Street Café. The Toy Shop is hoping to get about 700 more stuffed animals before Dec. 7.

The Toy Shop is always in need of volunteers. To register, go to www.edmondsumc.org/toyshop and click the link for online registration on the right. Although volunteers are needed for all shifts, there is a particular need for Russian and Spanish interpreters.

The Food Bank distributes on Tuesdays and needs volunteers on Monday to set up and Tuesday to distribute. These shifts start as early as 6 a.m. and go until they are finished. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off in the Edmonds United Methodist Church’s office from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They currently are most in need of canned sweet potatoes, canned cranberry sauce, canned fruits and vegetables, canned soup, tuna, peanut butter, cereal and cake mix, but will accept any non-perishable food items.

The UPS Store
The Westgate neighborhood’s UPS Store, located at 10016 Edmonds Way, Suite C, will sell donation cards benefiting the Toys for Tots Literacy Program through Dec. 31. This program purchases books for children in need around the country.
There is also a donation box in the UPS Store for the Edmonds Food Bank. Non-perishable food donations can be dropped off through the end of the year.

The Max Foundation
The Max Foundation is an Edmonds-based non-profit organization working to benefit the lives of patients with blood cancer and other rare forms of cancer all over the world. This holiday season, the organization is focused on raising funds to bring copies of a storybook called Maximo and the Big C to children facing cancer. You can read the book here. Every $10 donation will bring this book to a child in need, and the foundation hopes to raise $50,000 before the end of the year. You can donate to the foundation here.

Additionally, the foundation sponsors a program called With Love in Every Stitch, which accepts donations of knit hats to be sent to young cancer patients in low- and middle-income countries. Hats can be dropped off or mailed to 110 W. Dayton, Suite 205. These hats must be pre-shrunk, non-itchy and machine washable.

Westgate Chapel’s Food and Clothing Bank
Residents can donate clothing and non-perishable foods to the Westgate Chapel’s food bank anytime during the chapel’s office hours—Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are donation boxes in the chapel’s foyer area where items can be left. The food bank is open to Edmonds residents in need on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Westgate Chapel will also be hosting three Thanksgiving dinners at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. It is free to anyone who wants to attend. The chapel expects its large congregation will be able to satisfy all of the volunteering and food donation needs for this specific event, but will accept financial donations to cover any last-minute costs for the event.

Annie’s Kitchen—Edmonds Lutheran Church
Edmonds Lutheran Church sponsors the weekly Annie’s Kitchen, which provides free meals to those in need every Wednesday night from 5-6:30 p.m., including a festive thanksgiving feast on Wednesday, Nov. 27. (Since Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on a Wednesday those weeks, the meals will be served on the Thursday following.) According to the organization’s website, Annie’s Kitchen creates the meals using food that is no longer eligible for sale but still edible, provided by local grocery stores and shops — a process they call “gleaning.”

“Gleaning is fun, it’s sort of like a scavenger hunt–you never know what grocery stores will give us–one week it might be ninety dozen eggs, another week it’s 50 pounds of corned beef, or perhaps orchids in bloom,” Marilyn Dauer of Annie’s Kitchen said. If you are interested in joining the “gleaning” team that rounds up this food seven days a week, you can email  robert_a_snyder@msn.com for more information.

Annie’s Kitchen also needs volunteers to prepare the food, starting around noon the day of the meal, and servers during the meal. Children can bring holiday cards to exchange with dinner guests and are also welcome to volunteer as servers, but must have a parent supervisor.

Canned foods can be donated to benefit the Edmonds Lutheran Church’s Chase Lake Elementary School food backpack program, which sends children in need home with a backpack full of food for the weekend. This program needs cereals and canned healthy proteins.

Edmonds Senior Center
The Edmonds Senior Center will host a Holiday Bazaar fundraiser featuring unique gifts and holiday bake sale items on Saturday, Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The bazaar is free and open to the public. Just doing some holiday shopping at this Bazaar will benefit the senior center, but they are in need of volunteers to run the coffee bar downstairs and the sandwich bar upstairs, as well as greeters and helpers throughout the bazaar.

Additional volunteers are needed for their Christmas lunch on Dec. 20, serving the seniors a traditional Christmas meal. A financial sponsor is also needed for an upcoming dessert happy hour celebrating the center’s volunteers. If you are interested in sponsoring the event or volunteering at the senior center, contact Jennifer English at 425-774-5555, Ext. 104.

Clothes for Kids
Clothes for Kids is a Lynnwood-based non-profit organization that gives donated clothes to kids in need. Donations of new and gently-used kids and teen clothes can be brought directly to Clothes for Kids at 16725 52nd Ave. W., Suite B, or picked up by OneClick Cleaners via this website. They also have a wish list on Amazon here. Clothes must be school appropriate and of a young style—no “adult” clothes are accepted. Undergarments, socks and toiletries must be new and unopened.

The Clothes for Kids Facebook page also recently announced that it will provide Certificates of Giving for the holiday season, where you can give a donation in the name of someone you care about. Bring a donation of any amount to Clothes for Kids along with the name and address of the person you want to honor, and the organization will mail a Clothes for Kids Certificate of Giving to them in a red envelope, just in time for the holidays.

–Story by Natalie Covate

  1. Edmonds Yacht Club has a Coat Drive for the months of November and December.
    Please bring new or gently used coats, hats, scarves, gloves or socks to 326 Admiral Way, Edmonds, WA 98020.
    Requesting infant, child, youth and young adult sizes.
    A designated bin is in the EYC foyer.
    Benefiting Clothes For Kids, a 501 (c) (3) organization.
    Thank you!

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