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How to help your neighbors this holiday season

By Emily Fletcher
As we gear up for the holiday season, so, too, are local organizations and churches preparing to spread tidings of comfort and joy to those less fortunate in our community, and there are plenty of opportunities to help out.
Volunteer Opportunities
Most urgently, the Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., is looking for more volunteers for its annual Winter Festival and Crafts Fair on Dec. 1 and 2. Volunteers can view and sign up for shifts online.
As part of the Hot Meal Program, the PNA is also seeking donations of juice, cooked hams, and baked pies for its special holiday lunch on Dec. 19, and generous cooks can call 206-783-2244 to make food delivery arrangements. Volunteers are also needed to prepare and serve the meal.
Bishop Blanchet and Ballard High School students can also sign up to help with St. John’s Christmas tree sale to benefit the Noel House overflow shelter on Dec. 8 and 9 by calling the parish office at 206-782-2810.
Gift Donations
The PNA’s 15th annual giving tree is up, with tags available at the Greenwood Senior Center (525 N. 85th St.), the Phinney Center, and Umpqua Bank (7120 Greenwood Ave. N.). Community members can stop by to pick up a tag, purchase a gift, and return the wrapped present with the tag by Dec. 10.
St. John Catholic Church, 7916 1st Ave. NW, has a giving tree, and donations fulfilling the requests on the tree’s giving ornaments must be returned by Dec. 16.
Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church, 7500 Greenwood Ave. N., has a giving wreath in the church’s narthex. Gifts should be returned by Dec. 16, and volunteers can help assemble stockings for children that day, with each stocking including something fun, something personal, and something educational.
All Bartell Drug stores, including the Greenwood store at 120 N. 85th St, are teaming up with the Salvation Army to provide local children with toys this holiday season through their ninth annual “Toy
 ‘N’ Joy” drive. Donations of new, unwrapped toys will be accepted at all area Bartell Drugs locations through Dec. 14.
Greenwood Hardware is hosting a giving tree for Treehouse, which provides services for foster children.
Phinney Estate Law, at 751 N. 75th St., is collecting toys for the YWCA Downtown Shelter, which hosts more than 100 children on Christmas Eve. Bring a new, unwrapped present for a child age 2 to 18 to the office. (Please call ahead to make sure someone will there — 206-459-1908.)
Food Donations
The Volunteers of America Food Bank of Greenwood has most of its volunteer positions filled for the holiday season but is always looking for food donations. All donations are appreciated, and the food bank could particularly use holiday meal main course items, such as turkeys and hams, which can be dropped off at the organization’s 9041 Greenwood Ave. N. location.
In addition to donating directly to the food bank during their open donation hours (Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30-4 p.m., and Wednesday, 8:30-6 p.m.), donation barrels can be found at the following locations:

  • Ken’s Market,7231 Greenwood Ave. N.
  • Chase Bank, 8701 Greenwood Ave. N.
  • The Green Bean Coffeehouse, 8515 Greenwood Ave. N. (in the Sanctuary Reformed Christian Church office)
  • Windermere Real Estate, 315 N. 85th St. and 12250 Greenwood Ave. N.

Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church will also be assembling food boxes and will have a special food bank Christmas distribution on Dec. 21 from 12-3 p.m.
Let us know of any other giving or volunteer opportunities in the neighborhood this holiday season!
(Emily Fletcher is a Phinney Ridge resident and Dartmouth College journalism student)