Kirkland resident Kristin Kalning has partnered with friends and others over the past five weeks to deliver supplies to organizations struggling with shortages in donations and volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Courtesy photo

Kirkland resident Kristin Kalning has partnered with friends and others over the past five weeks to deliver supplies to organizations struggling with shortages in donations and volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Courtesy photo

Kirkland area resident coordinates donations for non-profit groups

  • Wednesday, April 29, 2020 9:42am
  • News

By Om Khandekar, For the Kirkland Reporter

As reports of COVID-19 infections were rising in early March, Kirkland resident Kristin Kalning wanted to help but didn’t know where to start. She started reaching out to local organizations and broadcasted their needs to her network of friends and community members.

She discovered that hundreds of people felt just like her.

Kalning has partnered with friends and others over the last five weeks to deliver thousands of dollars worth of supplies to organizations struggling with shortages in donations and volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak. These donations are a welcome addition to organizations who have seen a shortage in donations during the crisis, and have had to turn away select items and volunteers for fear of infection.

“I started the car, but the community really made it move,” Kalning said.

Her first attempt was with her son, biking around apartment complexes, putting up fliers, and asking for supplies to pass along to at-risk neighbors. Kalning initially reached out to the North Shore Senior Center to offer help when she wasn’t getting responses from her fliers in the Kirkland area.

Kalning also reached out to the Compass Housing Alliance in Seattle and heard back from them about a need for non-perishable foods and a unique need for art supplies and snacks for the children staying in the Compass Housing Alliance shelters. Compass Housing Alliance has had to limit donations to non-perishables only and turn volunteers away.

She reached out to her network of friends and family, and received so many donations and money that she had to enlist help from a friend.

“I do think it was one of those moments where people were feeling really, really scared, and wanted to do something outside of themselves,” Kalning said. “Like they wanted to not focus on their own anxieties.”

Yvonne Holecek has been coordinating supply pickups and drop-offs between the Kirkland group and the Compass Housing Alliance. Through another friend, the group has coordinated donations for the Gardens at Juanita Bay in Kirkland, the Hoh Indian Tribe of the Hoh Indian reservation in Forks and the Pacific Treatment Alternatives – Snohomish Parent Child Assistance Program, or PCAP for short, in Snohomish County.

Debbie Graham is a clinical supervisor and case manager at the PCAP where they aim to provide lunches, transitional housing and supplies for clients.

But during COVID-19 those requests have been difficult to fulfill. The PCAP is one of many nonprofits struggling with supplies and funding during social isolation orders and economic shutdowns.

“Every organization in the community, every non-profit is struggling,” Graham said.

Adam Ballout has been working with the Hoh Indian Tribe through friends within his own network, and got in contact with the group from Kirkland.

These groups don’t have any background in procuring aid, but he mentioned how the momentum has been picking up as the Hoh Tribe faces economic and scarcity issues. Ballout believes the tribe is in a very vulnerable state.

“I see the need continuing for the near future,” Ballout said, “because even if we get some essential businesses and some parts of our economy opened back up, there’s still the issue of vast amount of unemployment there, and transportation and geographical issues that make that tribe vulnerable.”

According to Ballout, the Hoh tribe is facing up to 85% unemployment and geographic isolation makes procuring aid difficult.

In the first set of donations, Ballout and his friends asked for donations and after a few days took whatever they had to provide immediate relief to the tribe. They raised about $7,500 worth of supplies. Kalning and her group delivered donations from their Kirkland network shortly after.

The groups are planning larger future partnerships and donations. Ballout hopes to partner with restaurant chains and statewide food insecurity initiatives to set up long term aid disbursement to the Hoh tribe.

Ballout mainly hopes that these aren’t one-time donations.

Kalning is continuing to put out requests for donations and completed a drop off at the Pacific Treatments Center Snohomish Parent Child Assistance Program on Tuesday morning. According to Debbie Graham, a clinical supervisor at the program, Kalning’s donation of diapers and baby products was the largest she’s seen in five years.

Meanwhile Holecek is still collecting donations for Compass Housing Alliance. Holecek said that the director of the Compass Housing Alliance called recently, when the director had heard that Holecek and Kalning had been responsible for multiple large donations.

“She called just to say thank you and that it was really making a difference,” Holecek said. “That’s all that matters you know?”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

NW Carpenters Union members strike in front of downtown Bellevue construction site (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Carpenters union strike interupts some prominent Eastside construction projects

Union representative says members are prepared to strike “as long as it takes.”

design rendering of ‘The Pine’ complex (courtesy of MainStreet Property Group)
‘The Pine’ 140-unit housing development breaks ground in Kirkland

The eco-friendly building design will aim to “embrace the natural environment”.

Map of proposed landfill expansion sites (screenshot from King County website)
Waste management expert knocks county’s plan to expand landfill

The waste management advocate said the decision to expand seems pre-determined despite assessment.

Participants in fundraiser previous event (courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter)
Walk To End Alzheimer’s returns to Eastside on Sept. 25

Alzheimer’s Association moves forward with plans for an in-person event.

file photo
State employees including first responders sue state over vaccine mandate

The lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 90 plaintiffs claims Inslee’s order is unconstitutional.

Pixabay photo
Union carpenters to go on strike, expected to impact Eastside Microsoft projects

Members authorized strike after rejecting AGC offer for the fourth time.

file photo
The state’s hospitals face “unprecedented collapse” amid COVID uptick warn healthcare unions

Union spokeperson says understaffing was a problem even before the pandemic.

pizza from Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie (courtesy of Serious Pie)
Eastside to get its first Serious Pie restaurant location

Serious Pie is owned by Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas.

Most Read