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One VOICE’s winter help: Lessons of year two

A student-driven bounty: Cascade View Elementary School students display some of the scores of boxes of toys, toiletries and other items that the Snoqualmie Ridge school’s students collected for distribution at the Dec. 13-14 One VOICE Holiday Event in North Bend. Student-body leaders and helpers (arranged in no particular order in the photo) are second-graders Mariel Nolan, Kyle Culpepper, Helena Jones, Keller Keene, Callie Wilson, Josh Jimenez, Neil Roselli, Payton Molander, Parker Norah and Lauren Kremer; third-graders Carlos Danysh, Lily Deimus, Kelsey Reynolds, Eli Spence, Caroline Strong, Varnon Srinivasan, Burke O’Neil, Chloe Solidy, Taylor Hadley and Abby Gardner; fourth-graders Emma Cullen, Baxter Rowland, Cameron Pearson, Lucy Peterson, Trystan Tingley, Andrew Caswell, John Bosworth, Noel Hendrickson, Erik Davies and A.J. Flodin; and fifth-graders Gracee Gorrell, Gavin Britton, Skylar Rose, Jack Gardner, Sasha Taylor, Josh Clark, Hallie Rogers, Brendan Lapio and Kris Steensgaard. Adults who assisted in the collection and pickup are (back row, from left) volunteer Jerry Neyland; Melissa Hammond, Megan Soden and Emili Fletcher of Encompass; an unidentified parent volunteer; Stacey Cepeda of Encompass; Ray Wilson (principal) and Sandy Smelser (counselor and adviser) of Cascade View; an unidentified parent volunteer and Emily Ridout of Encompass. One VOICE (Valley Organizations in Collective Effort) is an umbrella of more than 40 organizations and businesses that coordinates resource fairs in June and December to assist families in need. - Photo by Clay Eals
A student-driven bounty: Cascade View Elementary School students display some of the scores of boxes of toys, toiletries and other items that the Snoqualmie Ridge school’s students collected for distribution at the Dec. 13-14 One VOICE Holiday Event in North Bend. Student-body leaders and helpers (arranged in no particular order in the photo) are second-graders Mariel Nolan, Kyle Culpepper, Helena Jones, Keller Keene, Callie Wilson, Josh Jimenez, Neil Roselli, Payton Molander, Parker Norah and Lauren Kremer; third-graders Carlos Danysh, Lily Deimus, Kelsey Reynolds, Eli Spence, Caroline Strong, Varnon Srinivasan, Burke O’Neil, Chloe Solidy, Taylor Hadley and Abby Gardner; fourth-graders Emma Cullen, Baxter Rowland, Cameron Pearson, Lucy Peterson, Trystan Tingley, Andrew Caswell, John Bosworth, Noel Hendrickson, Erik Davies and A.J. Flodin; and fifth-graders Gracee Gorrell, Gavin Britton, Skylar Rose, Jack Gardner, Sasha Taylor, Josh Clark, Hallie Rogers, Brendan Lapio and Kris Steensgaard. Adults who assisted in the collection and pickup are (back row, from left) volunteer Jerry Neyland; Melissa Hammond, Megan Soden and Emili Fletcher of Encompass; an unidentified parent volunteer; Stacey Cepeda of Encompass; Ray Wilson (principal) and Sandy Smelser (counselor and adviser) of Cascade View; an unidentified parent volunteer and Emily Ridout of Encompass. One VOICE (Valley Organizations in Collective Effort) is an umbrella of more than 40 organizations and businesses that coordinates resource fairs in June and December to assist families in need.
— image credit: Photo by Clay Eals

The collective of local service groups, churches and organizations called One VOICE recently wrapped up its second seasonal holiday drive.

The One VOICE Holiday Event provided gifts and necessities to more than 230 families and 750 Valley children.

One VOICE began last year with the purpose of bringing Valley organizations together to help others and avoid duplication of effort.

In those early days, organizations were concerned that they might wind up losing their identity within the group.

Since then, groups have realized, says Paul Tredway of Snoqualmie Valley Kiwanis, that their identities and mission are secure. The partners also realied that the system works—really well, in fact.

This year, there was no pullback, he told the Record.

“People understood what their role was going to be, and how they fit in. They knew the people they wanted to serve would be helped,” Tredway said.

“We just think it’s awesome,” he added.

This year, donations were slightly down, yet members did last-minute shopping and volunteers were flexible to meet the need. No family left even close to empty handed.

“They had great Christmases,” Tredway said. “Some of the gifts were amazing.”

One of his highlights was seeing how families took part, together. Donations happened with a family atmosphere, as parents taught their children the important lesson of giving.

Next year, Tredway hopes to see more awareness, spreading the word about where the various Giving Trees are in the Valley so more can take part.

One VOICE now moves on to its summertime drive, gathering needed warm-weather goods and other essentials for families.

Tredway has special thanks for the North Bend Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which hosted the event for its second year.

“The LDS church is unbelievable,” Tredway said. Not only handling the wrapping of gifts, church members stage the entire event. Nearly every room of the church building is used for a function of the Holiday Event.

“From our standpoint, it’s perfect,” says Tredway. The church went “over and above” the call of duty for this holiday drive.

“VOICE” stands for “Valley Organizations in Collective Effort.” Learn more on Facebook.

 

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