YWCA friends shop for a cause this holiday season

Tuesday morning, Nov. 5, was a little unusual for YWCA Executive Director Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin. Instead of meeting friends to walk in the park, she went to local radio station KUJ 1420 am, where she met Ready Starr, manager of the Walla Walla Sportsman’s Warehouse.

They were there as special guests of KUJ’s Jim Bock. Ready shared the story about why he chose the Walla Walla store to manage (hint: it involves fish) and how excited he is about the Sportsman’s Warehouse commitment to community philanthropy. The store’s first giving opportunity was a $5,000 merchandise gift, part of which was delivered to YWCA Walla Walla in October. Ready, joined by Office Manager Evelyn Mendoza, brought in a load of warm coats, jackets, and assorted sportswear.

Employees at the store are looking forward to adopting a YWCA client family for the holidays and helping stuff the shelter’s Christmas Eve stockings.

Anne-Marie explained the many ways the community can share some holiday love with YWCA clients.

Because of the overwhelming interest last year, Advocates Kandice Kelly and Elisha Pritchett (pictured) have created four different programs to choose from:

Adopt-A-Family. A donor or group of donors adopts a shelter family and buys gifts with the help of a wish list completed by the family. Because of all the interest last year, we are able to expand our list to include families that have recently moved out of shelter as well as domestic violence clients who haven’t been in shelter. (We base our lists on shelter rooms, so a “family” may consist of one woman, or it could be a mom and several children.) You’ll have the wish lists on Nov. 27, in time for Black Friday shopping. Volunteers will wrap gifts.
SIGN UP: Already started; please email kkelly@ywcaww.org
DEADLINE: Unwrapped gifts to YWCA Friday, Dec. 13

Stuff the Stockings. On Christmas Eve, every woman in shelter will receive a stocking stuffed full of small gifts. These could be Walmart gift cards in small increments, candy, a bottle of nail polish — “fun” things that let the women know someone is thinking of them. We strongly encourage donors to bring 21 of each item so that all stockings are equal. (Twenty-one $5 gifts aren’t in your budget? Maybe a couple of friends would enjoy sharing this project.) We have a list of great stocking stuffer ideas if you have trouble thinking of some.
SIGN UP: Not necessary
DEADLINE: Items at the YWCA office by 5:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20

Stock the Shelves. Some things that the shelter needs all year are not regular budget items but are critical for women who arrive with only the clothes on their backs. These things may not be glamorous, but they can be lifesavers. Examples: new underwear, sports bras, sweat shirts and pants, and — especially this time of year — warm cotton and wool winter socks.
DEADLINE: Any time

Stock the Toy Cupboard. We keep a closet of toys to give to kids of all ages throughout the year. These are great for easing frightened and confused (or bored) kids into a new and strange environment. You can bring any like-new toys you like, but we have a special need for craft kits and art projects for kids 12 and older.
DEADLINE: Any time

We are signing up volunteers to help wrap gifts on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop-ins are welcome, but signing up for a time slot is a great way to ensure we’ll have a place for you. Email kkelly@ywcaww.org.