GivingTree looking for giving hearts

Published on Thu, Nov 17, 2005 by ara Nelson

Read More News

Giving Tree looking for giving hearts

By Tara Nelson

The Stafholt Good Samaritan Center is still looking for individuals to purchase gifts for children of low-income families under the Blaine Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Giving Tree to meet its goal by December 5.

“As of today, 69 families have turned in their applications,” said Marsha Hawkins, a Blaine City Council member and volunteer coordinator for the center. “That’s 667 gifts that we need to get and we still have more applications coming.”

Stafholt began coordinating the event for the Blaine Chamber of Commerce in 1999. The program accepts applications for families with children under 18 to receive up to three gifts per child, for which, Hawkins suggests one toy and two articles of clothing kept under $30.
“We do say it should be $30 or less, but then we’ve had kids who have asked for bicycles so we let the person who takes the tag decide if they want to spend more than $30,” she said. “If they want to sponsor a whole family, they could do that too.”

Hawkins said, for a small city such as Blaine, she was surprised at the number of low-income families in the area.

“When I’ve talked to people from the school, the number of children in the Blaine school district who receive free lunches is something like a third of all students, so that seems really high to me,” she said.
Last year, the center collected 1,422 gifts to give to 160 low-income families in the Blaine and Birch Bay areas. Hawkins, however, said she has been consistently impressed with the generosity of Blaine residents.

“They’ve been fabulous,” she said. “They’ve just come through with flying colors. Each year we’ve been able to fill the gift request and each year it just gets bigger.”

Gift tags can be obtained from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Stafholt Good Samaritan Center at 456 C Street. The deadline for family applications was November 15.

For more information, call 332-8733.