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Giving Trees give Valley families an opportunity to receive gifts

The Snoqualmie Valley Kiwanis Club, with the help of Hopelink, is once again sponsoring the annual Giving Tree Program.

The program provides low-income Valley families the opportunity to receive gifts, explained Kiwanis member Tina Maloney.

Gift requests are available at 12 locations through Dec. 19, including Safeway, QFC, Eastside Storage of North Bend, ACE Hardware, the Moose Hall, Sterling Savings Bank and Blimpie of North Bend, as well as the Snoqualmie Market, Bibo Coffee Co. on Snoqualmie Ridge, Fall City's Family Market and Falls Pharmacy.

Kiwanis requests that gifts are dropped off at the same location as on the item's tag or at Sterling Savings Bank in North Bend.

If items are purchased after Dec. 19, gifts may be dropped off at Sterling Savings Bank. Items dropped off are secured, Maloney said.

Sign-up times and days for receiving gifts are from 4-8:15 p.m. on Dec. 20 at the North Bend library, 115 E. Fourth St., and from 1-7 p.m. on Dec. 21 at the Mount Si Senior Center, 411 Main Ave. S. in North Bend.

Distribution will be at the Sallal Grange, 12912 432nd Ave. S.E. in North Bend on Dec. 22 from 8 a.m. until evening and Dec. 23 from 8 a.m. until evening or whenever the gifts run out. Dec. 22 is reserved for immediate family shopping; Dec. 23 is for grandparents to shop; and Dec. 21 will be the day for volunteers to set up.

"The main focus is for the parents to be able to get something for their kids," Maloney said.

To sign up, participants must have a valid photo ID for all family members 18 years or older, as well as social security cards or birth certificates for all persons in the household. Additionally, proof of physical address and last month's income is required. Current Hopelink clients are already eligible.

The giving trees have blue and white tags that list ages and suggested purchase items such as basketballs, CD players, dolls, hair dryers, sleeping bags and gift cards, Maloney said. The tag information is not specifically assigned to a child; the information is suggested to gather a variety of options for children of varying ages and interests.

Once collected, gifts are given a number of points based on their values. Families are then given a point allotment to use when selecting gifts, Maloney said, based on qualities such as the number of children in the family.

Last year the Giving Tree Program served 179 families, Maloney said. They received about 1,400 gifts for about 1,300 tag requests.

Still, it is never enough, she added. Leftover gifts are redistributed locally.

Gift cards from places such as Target, Fred Meyers and book and music stores are encouraged so that participants can purchase specific items they want.

The local Kiwanis chapter also has "Angel Tags" to benefit nursing home patrons of the Mount Si Transitional Center. Additionally, Kiwanis members volunteer to ring bells for the local Salvation Army collection buckets now through Dec. 24. Money raised benefits the Valley.

For information about Hopelink or to make an appointment, call (425) 333-4163. For information about Kiwanis or the Giving Tree Program, call Tina Maloney at Sterling Savings Bank, (425) 888-1616.

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