There are a few stories we need to share with our readers about the good things local businesses, and in turn their customers, are doing year round to support local non-profits and families in need. From supporting our troops and their families, to lending a hand with our local PTA organizations, and giving donations to local food banks, so many South Sound businesses and residents are making a difference in the lives of people – some who are complete strangers.
Raising money for non-profits
When John O’Reilly, owner of Topside Bar and Grill in Steilacoom, first opened his restaurant, one of his goals was to support local non profits by hosting fundraisers at his restaurant and donate the profits. In August, Topside hosted a spaghetti dinner benefiting wear blue: run to remember, a running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American Military. The event was a huge success and wear blue raised over $1,500 to help fund their Saturday training runs.
Two weeks ago, Topside held another fundraiser for the Cherrydale PTA. Organizer Diana Cunningham reported back that the event went great with families showing up for breakfast and the PTA raising some money for student programs at Cherrydale Elementary School in Steilacoom.
Topside isn’t the only local business holding events to raise money for non profits. DuPont Forza Coffee shop owner Gil Quante held an Arts & Crafts fair in September, where a portion of the registration fee also went to benefit wear blue: run to remember. The event drew a good sized crowd and the kids had a great time using their artistic talents in the chalk art contest. Earlier in 2012, McNamaras Pub and Eatery also held a benefit breakfast where the profits went to wear blue.
The non-profit wear blue: run to remember has expanded in 2012, not only across the United States, but across the world. Their group allows both military and civilians alike to come together by running or walking, forming a living memorial that honors those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Supporting our military families has always been a top priority for many in DuPont, Lakewood and Steilacoom. The same is true for our single soldiers. During the month of October, Lakewood Ford and a few of their friends filled the bed of a new Ford F150 truck full of snacks and personal hygiene items that were used in gift baskets given to 2,500 single soldiers who had just returned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord from Afghanistan.
The returning soldiers of the 3rd Stryker Brigade spent their first night home in military barracks, away from any family. But what made that homecoming a little less stressful and a lot more thoughtful were the gift baskets each single soldier received.
Hundreds of businesses and families made donations for the gift baskets including DuPont Oral Surgery, The Liberty Inn, Anytime Fitness, DuPont Dental, TCYFL Steilacoom Sentinels, The Carino Family, Farrelli’s Pizza and McNamaras, students in the Steilacoom Historical School District, and the list goes on and on. We want to give a special shout out to Denise Dhane and Ken Swarner for organizing this effort and motivating so many to donate.
Feeding the hungry
The number of Pierce County residents that use the FISH Food Bank might surprise you. As of October 31, the food bank has served over 460,000 individuals in Pierce County for 2012. Of that number, forty percent of the people FISH serves are children under the age of 18.
Earlier in November, Sol Promotions owner Angie Sherman, and Remax Real Estate Agent Shari Crumbaker took donations to purchase as many turkeys as they could for FISH Food Banks of Pierce County, after learning that FISH hardly ever has frozen turkeys to hand out to families for a Thanksgiving meal. The self-proclaimed Turkey Angels raised $1,300 and bought as many frozen turkeys as they could. In the end, Sherman said they were able to provide 124 Pierce County families with turkeys this year.
FISH also received a generous donation of canned goods from the DuPont Fire Department and the DuPont Lions Club Fall Food Drive held in October. Over 1,000 pounds of food donated by citizens was delivered to the Lakes Area FISH Food Bank.
If you didn’t get a chance to donate to the Turkey Angels or drop off a non perishable food item during the food drive, you can still make a monetary donation to FISH via their website. Every dollar donated to FISH can provide a meal for a family of four.
Ways to make a difference now
- Coats For Kids
An event taking place right now is the Coats for Kids campaign. You can donate your gently used or new coats to the DuPont Fire Department. Donations will go to children in need in both the Clover Park and Steilacoom School Districts.
- Adopt a Family or Needy Child
Farrelli’s Pizza and McNamara’s of DuPont announced they are adopting a family in need for the holidays and invited other businesses and the public to contribute. The family consists of seven kids and a widowed mom who works multiple jobs and still has a hard time making ends meet. If you want to contribute, donation boxes and lists for each family member are available inside Farrelli’s and McNamara’s.
The Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce also has opportunities for businesses to play Santa for a needy child. You can contact Larry Whelan at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be a part of this great program.
- Food Drives
Topside Bar and Grill is taking food donations for Northwest Harvest. If you bring canned food in on Sunday’s in November and December, you will receive 10 percent off your bill. Also, as previously stated, the FISH Food Banks of Pierce County can always use donations, both monetary and canned goods.
These are just a few stories we were aware of and wanted to share with our readers. If you have more goodwill stories that you’d like to share with the readers of South Puget Sound News, please email email@example.com.
Thank you to everyone who continues to make a difference in our communities.