Hopelink seeks holiday donations

The prolonged recession has driven more people than ever in north and east King County to seek Hopelink’s help. Requests for Hopelink’s assistance will intensify during the holiday season as families barely able to cover life’s basic necessities will need Hopelink’s help to put a festive meal on the table and surprise their children with holiday gifts. To meet these needs, Hopelink is asking the community to be generous with its donations of food, new toys and clothing and cash contributions this holiday season.

Hopelink offers more than 20 programs and services to 50,000 low-income people annually in north and east King County. In 2008, Hopelink provided holiday gifts to well over 1,000 low-income families with children, and put food on the table for many more thousands of hungry people, including children, senior citizens and people with disabilities. During the holidays, Hopelink clients are grateful for the festive food and gifts that help them enjoy, rather than dread, the season.

Hopelink’s wish list for donated nonperishable food includes the same staples that are needed year-round: canned fish, canned meals (chili, stew), rice, pasta, canned fruit, peanut butter, cereal, baby food, tomato products, 100 percent juice, cooking oil, potatoes and onions. Each of Hopelink’s five centers in Shoreline, Carnation, Redmond, Bellevue and Kirkland/Northshore particularly need certain food items, based on the area’s demographics. All of Hopelink’s food banks also welcome donations of festive holiday foods such as baking mixes, flour, sugar, cranberry sauce, pumpkin, yams and stuffing.

Hopelink’s gift rooms are available to pre-registered clients who are parents and grandparents. They can “shop” at their neighborhood Hopelink center, selecting just the right gift to make the holidays happier for their children or grandchildren. For Hopelink’s gift rooms, please consider donating toys, books, games and other gifts for children of all ages; gift cards for bookstores and toy stores; and items specifically for teens, such as music players, jewelry and sports equipment. New clothing for children ages newborn to 18 is also welcome, but particularly so for high school-age children. Gift cards to stores such as Old Navy, Target, Fred Meyer, and the Gap are great ways to donate clothing for older children.

Please include only new, unwrapped items in your donation. Cash donations will be used to purchase additional items for categories not already filled by “in-kind” donations. Additionally, Hopelink is able to use cash donations to buy certain food items in bulk, thereby stretching those dollars to feed more families.

Companies, organizations and families can share their giving spirit in a number of ways, such as by including a request for donations when inviting guests to a holiday party, or hosting a giving tree. More information is on Hopelink’s Web site,

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