The Olympian’s Light of Hope each year illuminates the needs of South Sound residents who lack resources and the nonprofit organizations that work with them. Below you will find a long wish list from local nonprofits and the people they help, nad how you can help them.
Family Support Center of South Sound
The Family Support Center of South Sound is a 501(c3) nonprofit organization in downtown Olympia with the mission of “Working Together to Strengthen All Families.” Its programs and services are designed to increase the health, safety, well-being, and hope of children and families in the community, and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. The Family Support Center operates the region’s largest 24/7 emergency homeless family shelter, Pear Blossom Place, and multiple other programs offering free resources and services to families and survivors in need. Each year, the Family Support Center helps more than 4,000 parents, children and survivors with comprehensive services, resources, advocacy and basic need items.
How to donate: Its offices are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 201 Capitol Way N., Olympia. It has a loading zone in front and staff will help you unload donations. Call ahead with any questions or to provide a heads-up on when you are arriving. Contact Whitney at email@example.com or 360-754-9297 ext. 217 to learn more. You can at fscss.org. Your donations may be tax deductible.
What they need: The center always needs large bath towels, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste, dish soap, razors, deodorant, ground coffee, nonperishable snacks, diapers (especially large sizes 3-6 and pull-ups), baby wipes, body wash, baby soap, silverware, paper towels, toilet paper, laundry soap and bus passes.
Holiday gift items needed for infants: warm pajamas, winter coats, socks, hats, gloves/mittens, front packs and slings, teething items, play mats, thick books and plush toys.
Holiday gift items needed for toddlers/preschoolers: warm pajamas, winter coats, boots, socks, Mega Blocks, books, educational toys, play tents and play kitchen sets.
Holiday gift items needed for elementary school-age children: warm winter coats, long-sleeved shirts and pants, sweatshirts, coats, hats and gloves, pajamas, dolls, action figures, anything Frozen/Marvel Comic heroes related, musical instruments, science experiment materials, dress-up clothes, board games, art supplies and remote-controlled cars.
Holiday items needed for tweens/teens: warm jackets, sweatshirts, socks, underwear/boxers, sneakers, boots, headphones, MP3 players, journals, teen/adult coloring books, art supplies, card games, anything Seahawks and Sounders related and phone cases.
Holiday items needed for parents: warm coats, hats, gloves, scarves, household items such as toasters and coffee makers, warm throw blankets, bedding sets, pots and pans sets, dish sets, bath towels, candles and, household artwork.
Gift cards most often requested: Grocery Outlet, Winco, Target, Walmart, JC Penney, daily and monthly bus passes, Fred Meyer, Safeway.
YWCA Olympia is on a mission to eliminate racism and sexism to advance the political, social and economic status of all women and girls. Its vision is a world where all people are valued, live free from oppression, and thrive in a just society. It provides programs and services to individuals, engages in advocacy to promote systemic change, and works to educate the community on relevant challenges and opportunities. YWCA Olympia operates eight programs: Intercultural Foundations, Girls Without Limits!, Girls Council, Girls Circle, Girls Only Active Learning (GOAL), Women’s Economic Empowerment (including Kathleen’s Closet), Youth Advisory Board, and The Other Bank. Each year, YWCA Olympia helps 14,000 community members.
How to donate: Drop off items between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the YWCA, 220 Union Ave. SE, Olympia (The Big Red House). For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What they need: hygiene products for the Other Bank, dish soap, laundry detergent, diapers in large sizes (5 and 6), paper towels.
City Gates Ministries
Through the various ministries of City Gates, it strives to help those who need a hand up to get on their feet again. Thanks to volunteers and donors, it helps those in need with food, furniture, clothing, guidance, and more.
CGM first started providing services to people in 1995 under the guidance of another organization. In 2005, it incorporated as City Gates Ministries and received its 501(c)(3) status from the IRS as a nonprofit charity.
How to donate: CityGates is at 1910 Fourth Ave. E. No. 108, Olympia, but it also accepts donations at Calvary Chapel Olympia, 919 Division St. NW, Olympia (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday); Gloria Dei Lutheran, 1515 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays); Mountain View Church, 940 Israel Road SW, Tumwater (Sunday only); New Zion Baptist Church, 6007 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey (Sunday only). For more information, email email@example.com, call 360-705-0291, or go to citygatesministries.org.
What it needs: City Gates accepts donations of clothing, blankets, jackets/coats, furniture, shoes, socks, and most anything someone living on the streets or transitioning into housing could use.
It also suggests providing for these clients:
Low-income family with financial hardship that makes it impossible to provide for Christmas this year; mom is pregnant and due in December. Mom needs clothing size medium, jeans size 5, boots size 8. Dad needs clothing size large, jeans 33x34, socks and warm shirts. Girl, age 6, needs size 5t/6t clothes and twin bedding; loves Shopkins, arts and crafts, hair accessories, nail polish, and the movie “Smurfs The Lost Village.” Boy, 2, needs clothing size 3t/4t, toddler-size bedding set, and a pillow; loves building blocks, Paw Patrol, Batman, Spiderman, Elmo and the movie “Trolls.” Newborn will need clothing, baby accessories and baby toys.
Low-income family laid off due to weather conditions. Mom needs pajamas size medium, jeggings size medium, boots size 8, and a jacket size large. Girl, 12, needs a jacket size medium, boots size 8, jeggings size medium; would like arts and crafts supplies. Boy, 8, needs pants and other clothes size 10/12, shoes size 3, rain boots size 3; would like a PJ mask toy or Legos.
Underemployed single mom with no personal transportation, seeking help for her three children. Mom needs clothing size large, warm boots size 8; would like pots and pans, makeup and toilet paper. Girl, 16, needs size large jeggings, XL shirts, boots size 9; would like a bike, makeup, or a Polaroid camera. Girl,10, needs clothing size large, flats and other shoes size 9.5; would like a scooter or a bike. Boy, 7, needs shirts size large, pants size 14/16, shoes size 5; would like a bike, scooter, or age-appropriate toys.
Disabled family struggling to find work. Girl, 12, needs clothing women’s size 10, shirts size large, shoes size 8, coat/jacket size large; loves anime, books, art, and choir. Boy, 7, wears clothing size 6, shoes size 12/13, shirts, jackets size medium or 8 children’s; loves Nerf guns, Minecraft, video games, books, and Marvel superheroes. Boy, 4, needs clothing size 6, shoes size 9, shirts and jackets size 6; loves Minions, Duplos/Legos, musical instruments, basketballs, bouncy balls or beach balls.
Single mom with a disability unsure of how much longer they will be able to keep their housing, suffering with major health problems. Boy, 15, needs clothing size jeans 30 or 32, shirts size small or medium, shoes size 10; would like a Polo hoodie or shirt, ripped jeans, underwear, Nike socks, a belt, a football or basketball, Jansport backpack, jogger pants, a heated blanket. Girl, 14, needs size 10 skinny jeans, leggings size medium, shirts size medium; would like makeup, anything from Pink, hair accessories, Jansport backpack, underwear, socks, bra size 32dd, earrings, heated blanket, and a Polaroid. Girl, 12, needs skinny jeans size 12/14, shirts size 12/14, shoes size 4, hoodie; would like anything Adidas, hair accessories, art stuff, bedding, Jansport backpack, socks and underwear.
Grandma raising two grandchildren working but struggling to make ends meet. Grandma would like books, candles, arts and crafts. Boy, 8, needs clothing size 12/14, pajamas; likes Legos and Ninja Turtles. Girl, 8, needs clothing size 12/14, pajamas; likes Legos and Barbies.
Young low-income family struggling to make ends meet has moved back in with parents. Mom needs size XXL shirts, XL leggings, size 15 jeans, and 8.5 shoes; likes makeup and crafty things. Dad needs size XL shirts and coats, pants size 38x34, shoes size 9/10; enjoys fishing and the outdoors. Baby boy needs clothing size 18-24 months, shoes size 5-6, socks, educational toys, and bath accessories.
Young under-employed family struggling to make ends meet. Mom needs kitchen items; would like DC Comics. Dad needs clothing size XL; likes DC Comics. Girl, 2, needs clothing size 2t/3t, shoes size 7 or 8; likes Minnie Mouse and Moana, and likes to color.
Low-income single mom raising two boys on a fixed income. Boy, 6, with autism needs clothing size 8/9 (will only wear jogger pants), shoes size 1.5 or 2, toys designed for children with autism, and a weighted blanket. Boy, 5, wears clothing size 7/8, shoes size 12.5 or 1; wants a Peter Pan, Captain Hook and other pirates. Both boys would love a Furby.
Low-income single mom raising her niece. Girl, 11, needs shirts size 12, pants size 12, winter jacket size 12, shoes and boots size 6.5; wants a laptop or tablet for school, school supplies, a backpack, twin size blanket, and an English/Spanish dictionary. Girl, 8, needs size 10 long-sleeve shirts, a winter coat, and pajamas. Girl, 6, needs size 7 pants, tops size 8, shoes size 12; wants a lunch box, pajamas, twin-size blanket, and towels.
Single mom with no income due to work-related injuries. Girl, 7, needs clothing size 6, shoes size 11; loves the color purple, horses, to draw and write in notebooks, making jewelry with beads, art projects, “The Descendants” movies, dolls and mashem toys; needs clothing, undies and socks; Girl age 5, clothing size 5, shoes size 9.5, underwear and socks; loves the color pink, horses, to color mermaids and fairies, crafts, and “The Descendants” movies, dolls and Mash’em toys. Boy, 3, needs clothing size 3t, shoes size 9, underwear and socks; likes the colors blue and green, likes Spiderman, Star Wars, Cars, doing arts and crafts, dolls, and Mash’em toys.
Single mom reunited with her daughter. Girl, 10, needs jeans size 0 junior, shoes size 9 women’s; would like board games, experimental chemistry kits (slime), Barbies and accessories, Project MC2 the show.
Low-income family struggling to pay the bills each month. Boy, 11, needs clothing size 12, shoes size 4.5, boots, underwear, socks; likes 5 nights at Freddies and Xbox 360 games. Boy, 18 months, needs clothing size 2t/3t, shoes size 6; loves cartoons and educational toys.
Low-income family playing catch up after months of unemployment. Girl, 14, needs clothing size junior 15 or women’s 14, shoes size 7; would like hair accessories. Boy, 13, needs clothing size 14/16; loves football. Girl, 9, needs clothing size 10/12, shoes size 2; is a Star Wars fan.
GRuB (Garden-Raised Bounty)
GRuB, or Garden-Raised Bounty, works to grow healthy food, people and community. It is a grassroots, community-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that partners with youth, people with limited incomes, veterans, seniors, and other marginalized communities to create empowering individual and community food solutions. It offers educational opportunities to help build a socially just and environmentally sustainable food system.
How to donate: GRuB is at 2016 Elliott Ave. NW, Olympia. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Please do not leave items outside of business hours. For more information, call 360-753-5522, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to goodgrub.org.
What it needs: clean Mason jars in all sizes, rain gear (boots, pants, jackets) for people of all sizes, Olympia Food Co-op gift cards for youth and gardener meals, local grocery gift cards for youth and gardener meals, Home Depot gift cards for farm development at GRuB and its new Victory Farm, Lifetime brand folding tables (6-foot size and square “card” tables).
Lewis Mason Thurston Area Agency on Aging
Information and Assistance/Case Management, a program of the Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging, connects vulnerable adults with information and social and health services to help them remain in their homes. Most clients are very low-income and have severe impairments affecting their ability to do basic day-to-day activities, and donations allow the agency to fill unmet needs.
How to donate: To make a donation to one of these individuals, or to make a general donation to the agency’s Special Assistance Fund, contact the information and assistance specialist in your county. The Thurston County Information and Assistance Specialist is Amanda Neville at 360-664-3162, ext. 133. Call Amanda before purchasing items for specific individuals to be certain the client you have chosen hasn’t already been provided for by others. Donations are tax-deductible.
All new and unwrapped donations must be received during designated hours, no later than Dec. 13, to ensure delivery to the clients by Christmas. Hours are 10 a.m. to noon Dec 5; 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Dec 8; 2-4 p.m. Dec 11; and 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Dec 13. The agency is at 2404 Heritage Court SW, Olympia.
Client 1: A man in his 40s who lives alone and uses a wheelchair would love an annual bus pass and a gift card to Walmart for clothes and household items.
Client 2: A woman in her late 50s who is unable to drive and lives alone would like an annual bus pass, a gift card to Walmart for a new vacuum and bedding, and a gift card to purchase groceries.
Client 3: A woman in her late 60s who lives alone with her service dog and must use a wheelchair because of an amputation needs an annual bus pass.
Client 4: A woman in her 60s who depends on public transportation would love an annual bus pass.
Client 5: A male in his 60s who receives very little assistance would like an annual bus pass to be able to get to and from his medical appointments.
Client 6: A woman in her 50s with a rare medical condition would benefit from an annual bus pass, as well as a gift card to Walmart, Value Village, or Goodwill.
Client 7: A man in his 60s who suffers from many mental and health challenges would love some flea medication and cat food for his furry companion.
Client 8: A woman in her 60s who lives on a very tight budget would benefit from a PetSmart gift card to get needed items for her companions, and a Walmart gift card for groceries and household items.
Client 9: A woman in her late 60s would like a gift card so she can keep her dog fed this winter and a gift card for herself.
Client 10: A woman in her 50s with physical disabilities would like a gift card to Walmart so she can purchase dog food.
Client 11: A woman in her 70s recently moved with her dog and would like a retractable leash and new dog bed and a memory foam kitchen mat, slippers, and a gift card.
Client 12: A man in his 80s who lives alone with his cat is having financial hardships and could use a gift card to Pet Works to buy his kitty some food.
Client 13: A woman in her 60s who has lost her vision and lives alone would like a tape recorder so she can record and replay her messages.
Client 14: A woman in her 80s who suffers from many health problems, including lost vision, would benefit from a large font telephone, and would also love a new toaster oven.
Client 15: A woman in her 60s who lives with her cat and suffers from breathing difficulties would benefit from a lightweight bag-less vacuum to keep pet hair under control.
Client 16: A man in his 70s who has no nearby family and lives alone would love a new warm winter jacket, indoor slippers, and a gift card for Safeway.
Client 17: A woman in her 40s has lost weight and could use some new clothes that fit her. She would love a gift card to Shopko for clothes, as well as a hand-held shower head and nonslip mat for the bathroom to prevent falls.
Client 18: A woman in her 50s who has recently come home from extended time in the hospital would love some new slippers and a new warm raincoat. She also has a new puppy that could use some toys.
Client 19: A woman in her 60s is living on a very limited income and could benefit from a new warm waterproof winter coat.
Client 20: A man in his 50s who is a former musician would benefit from a new battery to keep his home warm for him and his small dog.
Client 21: A woman in her 80s who is legally blind would love a gift card to Target to purchase an electric toothbrush, some fluffy slippers, and some shoe inserts.
Client 22: A man in his 70s who suffers from depression and anxiety would benefit from some new bariatric socks.
Client 23: A woman in her late 70s has various health problems related to a stroke and paralysis, which limits her mobility. She would appreciate a slip-resistant shower mat and a gift card.
Client 24: A woman in her early 30s with mental health problems who lives alone would appreciate warm winter sweatshirts, hats, and gloves.
Client 25: A woman in her 50s who has had several back surgeries and spends much of her time in bed would love some new queen-size bed sheets.
Client 26: A woman in her 70s suffering from renal failure and heart problems would appreciate Gold Bond diabetic lotion and Nepro Therapeutic Nutritional drinks.
Client 27: A woman in her 20s who is a single mother to a young son and experienced a stroke that left her partially paralyzed would enjoy a large print copy of “Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma” by Peter Levine, a battery-powered bedside reading light, Origins brand face wash, a queen-size blanket and sheets and women’s shaving razors. She would also appreciate a gift card.
Client 28: A woman in her 30s is a single mother of a daughter, is deaf and suffers from a neurological disorder and has no other family to provide assistance. She would love to have a Keurig K200 coffee maker, and a gift card to purchase some clothing. She also would appreciate gift cards so she could buy something for her daughter.
Client 29: A woman in her 60s has experienced recent financial hardship and is unable to afford basic household necessities. She would appreciate some Angel Soft toilet paper and laundry detergent.
Client 30: A woman in her 50s has several health problems including difficulty with mobility and breathing and is also caring for her two children. Client would appreciate queen-size flannel sheets, bathroom rugs, kitchen towels, and non-stick frying pans, as well as a gift card to provide for her children.
Client 31: A woman in her 50s who suffers from several health problems has been struggling with her self-esteem and is trying to become more independent. She would love a gift card to Walmart to purchase new clothes.
Client 32: A man in his 40s who is a quadriplegic would love a gift card to Ross or Walmart to purchase clothing.
Client 33: A man in his 60s who has cancer would love a Winco gift card so he can purchase groceries.
Client 34: A man in his 20s who is a quadriplegic would love a gift card to help with home necessities that will help him maintain his independence.
Client 35: A man in his 50s who suffers from anxiety and bipolar disorder would appreciate a gift card to help with food and supplies for his home.
Client 36: A woman in her mid-30s who suffers from a developmental disability and recently immigrated to the U.S., is not able to qualify for any assistance services. A gift card to Walmart, Target, Ross or Fred Meyer would help her purchase clothing, household supplies and groceries.
Client 37: A woman in her late 60s who suffers from a benign brain tumor that is causing physical decline is also a recent immigrant to the U.S., has no personal income, and is not able to qualify for assistance services. Client would appreciate a gift card to Walmart, Target, or Fred Meyer to allow her to purchase comfortable clothing and household necessities.
Client 38: A man in his 80s who recently lost his wife and had a drastic decrease in income would love a gift card to Walmart.
Client 39: A woman in her 50s who is on dialysis recently had to change residences due to cost of rent rising. She would appreciate a gift card to Walmart or Target.
Client 40: A woman in her late 40s is a single mom living with multiple sclerosis who feels guilty about getting herself anything. She would love a gift card to purchase some new clothing.
Client 41: A man in his 50s lives alone in a small trailer and has mental health problems and physical impairments. He would love a gift card to Walmart to purchase food and other household necessities.
Client 42: A woman in her 50s who suffers from several health conditions due to diabetes would appreciate a gift card.
Client 43: A man in his early 50s has recently lost some weight and would love to get some new clothes. He would appreciate a gift card to Walmart or Fred Meyer.
Client 44: A man in his mid-20s who has four young children was in a severe accident with his spouse that left both unable to work for months. Their family could greatly benefit from a large electric skillet and electric griddle, and gift cards to help with household essentials. They also would love additional gift cards to help provide for their children for the holidays.
Client 45: A man in his 60s who is paraplegic and lives alone in rural Thurston County off the power grid needs to replace the generator that powers his home. He would appreciate any donations to help purchase a new Honda 2,000-watt inverter generator.