Opinion | Getting ahead of the giving cycle with One VOICE

I had never seen that many toys in a single room before.

Even some of the toy and hobby stores that have called the Valley home would have a hard time matching what the big North Bend Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints multipurpose room had amassed for the Kiwanis Giving Tree at the One VOICE Holiday Event.

What’s equally amazing is that all those toys had vanished within a day and a half, collected by local families who need help with the basics to make a merry Christmas for their children.

Three years into the recession, we keep seeing growing need in the Valley. It’s hard to quantify how much the Valley is hurting, but the sheer numbers—more than 700 children provided with presents this season—speak volumes, both about what’s happening locally and in how our Valley’s generosity continues to step up.

Holiday drives, giving trees and bell ringers are nothing new here, but the One Voice Holiday Event that started this year is special. The sheer amount of charitable efforts that happen in the Valley can, frankly, be bewildering. Every group seems to be doing something encouraging for their neighbors. The problem for a newspaper writer, as for a donator, is: Where do you start?

One VOICE is attempting to bring order from clutter. They’re doing an amazing job so far; heaps of toys, clothing and goods came in. Now, they turn to the real challenge, meeting the needs of the Valley in the months after Christmas, when the giving slows and the awareness fades.

Meanwhile, there is still an effort to meet the needs of the holidays. If you’d like to assist the Kiwanis Giving Tree make holidays brighter for children in these last days before Christmas, contact the Kiwanis Club’s Paul Tedway at Sallal Water Association (www.sallal.com).

And when you’re ready to grasp the larger picture of charitable giving and need in the Valley, contact One VOICE (425-888-2777, Encompass web page http://encompassnw.org/subcontent.aspx?SecID=107). When we pull together, we go farther.


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