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Kirkland man takes action for domestic violence victims
One Kirkland man has worked hard to collect donations for victims of domestic violence this holiday season.
Bill Henkens, owner of The Game Neighborhood Grill and Bar in Kirkland, said customers have donated $600 in gift cards and surpassed their goal by fulfilling 125 wish tags.
Wish tags are cards with a written wish by children or mothers affected by domestic violence. The restaurant’s goal was to satisfy 100 wishes. But Henkens expects they will receive up to 140 donations, which will help at least 120 families on the Eastside.
The wishes are not extravagant or grandiose, Henkens says, but usually basic necessities.
“Sometimes the mom just wants a haircut and the kid want new T-shirts,” Henkens said.
This is the restaurant’s third year asking for donations to give to LifeWire, formally known as the Eastside Domestic Violence Program. Henkens holds the title as the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence 2010 Take Action Award winner. His daughter is a therapist and does teen outreach for LifeWire. But Henkens said it was Jennifer Chambers, the restaurant’s general manager, who spearheaded the effort and it’s the customers who are making a difference.
According to him, former Kirkland Mayor Santos Contreras and Councilmen Bob Sternoff and Toby Nixon have donated through his restaurant.
“The holidays can be a difficult time for a parent who is not able to provide gifts for their children,” said a LifeWire bulletin. “Each wish tag represents the wish of a victim or child who is healing from abuse …”
LifeWire has been helping families of domestic abuse since 1982. In 2011, LifeWire staff answered 10,716 crisis line phone calls and served 5,179 individuals.
Funding for the organization has been fairly steady from the cities around the Eastside, but this year Henkens traveled to a Bothell City Council meeting to ask them to reconsider funding cuts.
“We must protect our mothers, sisters and daughters and we must educate them to be aware of the early warning sings of domestic violence,” Henkens told the Bothell City Council in November.
LifeWire development director Kelly Becker said funding from cities has usually been pretty stable but because the cost of living is always increasing, the steady funding they receive is often not enough to accommodate everyone, hence the importance of donations such as those from The Game Neighborhood Grill and Bar.
To donate, visit www.lifewire.org or contact development director Kelly Becker at 425-562-8840 ext. 253.