The Olympian invites you to give those in need a Light of Hope

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If you are looking for a way to help those in need in Thurston County during the holiday season, you’ve come to the right place.

The Olympian’s annual Light of Hope shines a light on 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 some local nonprofits and the people they help, and suggestions on how you can help meet those needs — including the specific needs of some of the agencies’ clients.

So read on, and be generous.

City Gates Ministries

City Gates’ various ministries strive to help those who need a hand up to get on their feet again. With volunteers and donors of in-kind gifts and financial assistance, it provides 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 501(c)(3) status from the IRS as a non-profit charity.

What they need: CityGates accepts donations of clothing, blankets, jackets/coats, furniture, shoes, socks, and most anything someone living on the streets, or transitioning into housing, could use.

How to donate: Call 360-705-0291 or visit www.citygatesministries.org

Client 1: Low-income family struggling due to tragic accident affecting 9-year-old son. Trying to save all they have to purchase a handicapped accessible van that will be able to bring him home. They have four boys, ages 13, 9, 7, and 2. 13-year-old would like a bike, as his was stolen. 9-year-old likes movies and stuffed animals. 7-year-old likes Legos, Ninja Turtles, and Cars. 2-year-old loves anything his brothers do, as well as Mickey Mouse and Elmo.

Client 2: Low-income family working to pay bills, with nothing left for Christmas. Three children and one on the way. Baby will have medical needs that will cut further into their income. 17-year-old girl needs leggings and shirts, bath stuff, and make up. 9-year-old girl needs a pair of tennis shoes, boots, leggings and hair accessories. 6-year-old girl needs socks, leggings, boots, and hair accessories. Baby needs everything.

Client 3: Very low-income single mom unable to provide for Christmas. There have been multiple deaths in the family, causing her to struggle to keep working. Five children. 10-year-old boy likes Hot Wheels, and would love a track. 6-year-old girl likes Barbies, arts and crafts, coloring and drawing. 6-year-old boy likes Transformers and super heroes. 4-year-old twins like PJ Masks, Paw Patrol, cars and trucks.

Client 4: Family struggling to provide for the holidays, as they have had to move suddenly. All income is being used on the move. Two children ages 9 and 11 months. Nine-year-old likes unicorns, Barbies, pink. 11-month-old needs clothes, shoes, and age-appropriate games and books.

Client 5: Low-income family struggling to pay for Christmas after paying the bills. Three children ages 17, 16, and 2. 17-year-old needs clothes and likes makeup and jewelry. 16-year-old needs clothes, likes DVDs and needs twin bedding. 2-year-old needs clothes, and likes cars or PJ Masks.

Client 6: Low-income family caring for ill grandfather, and recently got custody of twin children. Three children ages 10, 10 and 2.

Client 7: Single mom recently back in the workforce after 12-year-old son with disability was able to be in school full time. 10-year-old son needs jeans, shoes, and a winter coat, likes Hot Wheels, and wants to decorate his room.

Client 8: Low-income family struggling due to young baby’s hospitalization, causing mom to lose her job. They are trying to get back on their feet, but are struggling this Christmas. Both girls need clothing, and would love toys.

Client 9: Low-income family struggling because health issues are keeping them out of work. Five children. 17-year-old would like clothes and boots, and needs a coat and scarf. 11-year-old needs clothes, and likes books, bath stuff, and earbuds. 3-year-old needs clothes, shoes, rain boots, and toddler bedding. 1-year-old needs clothes, diapers, and age-appropriate toys. 10-month-old needs clothes, size 2 diapers, and age-appropriate toys.

Client 10: Low-income family struggling due to dad’s cancer diagnosis. Two teens ages 18 and 14. 18-year-old has intellectual disabilities. Desparately needs clothes, likes super heroes, and would like the “Avengers: Infinity War” movie. 14-year-old girl needs clothes, loves bath and body stuff and jewelry.

Client 11: Single underemployed mom with a 2-year-old son wishes to bless her son with a little something for Christmas. Needs clothing, likes balls, coloring, cars, dinosaurs. Loves to read.

Client 12: Underemployed family struggling to make ends meet due to recent rent increase. Three children ages 13, 11, and 10. 13-year-old needs clothes and shoes, likes arts and crafts, Pikmi Pops, and Five Nights at Freddy’s. 11-year-old needs clothes and shoes, likes unicorns, one-piece footie pajamas, and LOL dolls. 10-year-old needs clothes and shoes, and likes jewelry, science and craft kits, anime.

Cultivating Youth graduates (from left) Alma Barragan of Olympia, Tasha Buck of Lacey and Ariel Field-Borodin of Olympia prepare beds for planting at the GRuB garden in west Olympia on May 18, 2011. Barragan, 18, is a senior at Olympia High School. Buck, 17, is a graduate of New Market Skills Center. Field-Borodin, 16, is a student at Capital High, New Market and also takes online courses. (Tony Overman/Staff Photographer) Tony Overman Olympian file photo


GRuB’s mission is to grow healthy food, people, and community. With roots in the land, it create opportunities for people to learn, lead, and thrive. It envisions an equitable world where everyone is nourished by healthy relationships, resilient community, and good food.

Each year, GRuB directly engages about 650 Thurston County residents of all ages in relationships-based programming around growing and preparing good food. It primarily works with marginalized young people with low incomes and/or behavioral and disciplinary indicators of high Adverse Childhood Experience scores, families with low incomes, students, seniors experiencing hunger, tribal communities, and military veterans.

What they need: Gift cards to local grocers to stock the kitchen for youth participants’ snacks and meals, and gently used rain boots and rain gear for youth pre-K to high school sizes.

How to donate: Contact wade@goodgrub.org. Drop off during business hours Monday through Friday, or other times can be arranged.

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.

This list is only a selection of the clients who would love some holiday cheer. Please call to inquire about additional clients’ wishes.

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 her 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. The agency is at 2404 Heritage Court SW, Olympia. All new and unwrapped donations must be received during designated hours, no later than Dec. 14, to ensure delivery to the clients by Christmas. Hours for donation drop off are 2-4 p.m. Dec. 10, 2-4 p.m. Dec 11, 10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m. Dec. 13, and 9-11 a.m. Dec 14.

Client 1: A man in his late 40s who has multiple health issues and lives alone would benefit from an annual bus pass, as well as a gift card to Walmart to purchase clothing. He is a big Seahawks fan and would love a new stocking cap.

Client 2: A woman in her late 60s with heart issues would appreciate an annual bus pass. She also could benefit from a gift card to Walmart or Fred Meyer so she can purchase some warm winter clothes.

Client 3: A man in his 50s who suffered a stroke now lives alone with his dog. He would love some dog toys and dog food, and he is an avid reader and would love books by his favorite authors: George Saunders, Anjali Sachdeva and James McBride.

Client 4: A woman in her late 60s with heart issues lives alone with her small dog and would love to provide her companion with doggie treats. She also would appreciate a WinCo gift card to help with groceries.

Client 5: A woman in her early 40s has been through multiple surgeries, and has a therapy dog that she can’t always afford extra things for. She would love a gift card to PetSmart for her dog, and a Walmart or Target card to purchase a few items for herself.

Client 6: A woman in her mid 50s would love queen-size sheets and a quilt, as well as some new towels. She lives alone on a limited income.

Client 7: A woman in her early 70s recently lost her vision. She would appreciate a pair of real sheep-skin slippers.

Client 8: A woman in her mid 80s recently suffered a stroke and would love items to keep her warm this winter, such as a heated blanket and wool socks.

Client 9: A man in his mid 60s with Parkinson’s would love a new bathrobe to keep him warm, as well as a pair of slippers. He would also appreciate a gift card to Safeway.

Client 10: A man in his early 70s with diabetes-related issues would love a warm lap blanket and a nice foot rest. A gift card to Fred Meyer would be appreciated.

Client 11: A man in his early 50s who has a mental illness loves cars and would love a model sports car that he can display in his home. He also would appreciate a gift card to Walmart to purchase household essentials.

Client 12: A blind woman in her 80s who is a cancer survivor would love a hand vacuum and a gift card to Walmart so she can purchase kitchen supplies.

Client 13: A woman in her mid 70s suffers from multiple health conditions that affect her daily living would love a blender so she can make smoothies, as well as a gift card to Walmart or Fred Meyer so she can purchase clothes and household essentials.

Client 14: A woman in her late 60s has severe breathing difficulties and lives alone. She would love a portable space heater to help reduce winter electricity costs.

Client 15: A woman in her 70s has a chronic debilitating health issue that has made her bed bound, and she does not have any income because she is recent immigrant. She needs incontinence bed pads, and some winter items to keep her warm.

Client 16: A woman in her early 60s is struggling with the recent loss of her mobility. She would greatly benefit from a lift chair in her home, and would love a gift card to Walmart to help with the cost of purchasing the chair.

Client 17: A woman in her early 50s who lives alone and suffers from many health and mental illnesses would love a gift card to a craft store because she loves to scrapbook and cannot afford the supplies.

Client 18: A woman in her late 20s with several health conditions including severe allergies would love a gift card to Lowe’s to help pay for home improvements to to better manage her health issues.

Client 19: A man in his 70s who has suffered from a stroke lives alone with his dog. He would love a gift card to Fred Meyer so he can purchase food and clothing.

Client 20: A man in his mid 60s is a Vietnam Vet who suffers from severe pain and PTSD. He would appreciate a gift card to Safeway to help with food and cleaning supplies.

Casey Meehan (left) an independent health insurance broker from Lacey, helps Vernon Bonfield, owner the Washington Independent Health Insurance Agency, as the work on repairs to the YWCA main building in Olympia during the United Way of Thurston County’s 23rd annual Day of Caring on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. Volunteers from the agency spent the day cleaning years of clutter, painting walls and repairing broken stairway railings. “I’m just blown away by this,” said Cherie Reeves Sperr, YWCA community engagement director. “I can’t get over how amazing this looks and how fresh it feels.” More than 600 people from 52 teams of volunteers pitched in on 35 projects in Thurston County’s single largest day of volunteerism. Tony Overman Olympian file photo

YWCA Olympia

YWCA Olympia is a multi-service nonprofit organization that has been serving Thurston County and the South Sound since 1945. The agency’s mission is to eliminate racism and sexism to advance the political, social, and economic status of all women and girls. YWCA Olympia works to center individuals who are impacted by the intersections of racism, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia. Activities include the Economic Empowerment Program, Intercultural Foundations, Girls Council, Girls Circle, Girls Without Limits, Youth Action Board, The Other Bank hygiene items bank, and Kathleen’s Closet.

What they need: YWCA Olympia is always seeking general items to support The Other Bank and its youth and adult empowerment programs. Specifically, for The Other Bank, it needs diapers, pull-ups, baby wipes, dish soap, body wash and lotion. For its empowerment programs, it needs bus passes, small gift cards for coffee or lunch items, and gas cards.

How to donate: Contact Tatomya Wimbish at 360-352-0593 or twimbish@ywcaofolympia.org, or visit the website at www.ywcaofolympia.org

Client 1: Single mom of two needs an inexpensive laptop (used or refurbished), Target/Walmart gift card, and men’s sized 9 or 10 shoes for her teenage son.

Client 2: Single mom of 11-year-old son wants a Game Stop or Target gift card, women’s clothing (size 12 pants and large shirt), boys rain boots/shoes (men size 9.5), dish wear set, and table lamp.

Client 3: Disabled single mom of teenage daughter needs an inexpensive laptop (used or refurbished), Les Schwab or Auto Zone gift card (for new tires), Men’s pajama pants size small, Seahawk-branded merchandise, and a gift card to Fred Meyer/Target.

Client 4: Disabled single mom of 3-year-old daughter wants a Soda Stream, Radiance gift card, Olyphant gift card, Joann’s Fabrics gift card, Playmobile toys.

Client 7: Client needs Costco gift card, men’s XL jacket, men’s shoes size 10.5-11 (earth tones or black), watch with minute and second hands (not digital).

Heather Freeman (left) and Nancy Hadley fill several client’s requests during the weekly distribution day Wednesday Jan. 13th at the YWCA’s Other Bank in downtown Olympia. The program provides essential hygiene and cleaning items that can’t be purchased with food stamps and currently serving around 125 families. Steve Bloom sbloom@theolympian.com

Family Support Center of South Sound

Family Support Center of South Sound, a non-profit founded in 1992, provides families with children and survivors of domestic violence/sexual assault with coordinated supportive services. The agency works to build strong, healthy, safe, hopeful families through collaborative programs in an effort to reduce the negative impacts of poverty, homelessness, and family violence. Using a “one-stop-shop” model, Family Support Center brings together multiple partner agencies with like-minded missions as well as offering its own programs.

What they need: Its Cold Weather Shelter needs twin-size bedding (sheets, blanket, pillow cases), waterproof and warm weather items (hats, gloves, jackets, scarves, wool socks, etc.), hygiene supplies, cleaning supplies, laundry soap, dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels, hand warmers, bath towels and washcloths, disposable coffee cups with lids, ground coffee, sugar and creamer packets, hot cocoa and apple cider packets, non-perishable snacks (single serving packages preferred), single-serving oatmeal, sleeping bags, tents, tarps, and sleeping pads.

How to donate: Contact Maija Glasier-Lawson at 360-754-9297 ext. 214 or maijag@fscss.org. You also can deliver items to the office at 201 Capitol Way N. in downtown Olympia. The office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Please call ahead to make sure the office is open as the upcoming holiday season may effect hours: 360-754-9297.

Client 1: VTech Sort and Discover Activity Cube, VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker, Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack & Baby’s First Blocks, Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Grow ‘n Learn Garden Caddy

Client 2: Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope, Simplay3 Indoor Outdoor Sand and Water Activity Table with Storage, Playskool Explore ‘N Grow Busy Gears, KidKraft Bookcase with Reading Nook Toy, Hasbro Guess Who? Classic Game

Client 3: Hasbro Connect 4 Game, Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! 6-Piece Pretend Play Set, Little Tikes Shopping Cart , Learning Resources Fresh Picked Fruit And Veggie Tote

Client 4: ABC Sound Book for Children (English and Spanish), Illuminated World Globe for Kids with Stand, Non-Toxic 36 Piece ABC Foam Mat - Alphabet & Number Puzzle Play & Flooring Mat for Children & Toddlers

Client 5: Road Rally Play Foam Floor Tiles For Kids - Jumbo Interlocking Foam Mats, Eggsnow Kids Play Tent Castle Play Tent, TOP BRIGHT Activity Cube Toys Baby Educational Wooden Bead Maze Shape Sorter

Client 6: TOP BRIGHT Activity Cube Toys Baby Educational Wooden Bead Maze Shape Sorter, Playz 4pc Pop Up Children Play Tent w/ 2 Crawl Tunnel & 2 Tents, Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set, Gamenote Wooden Shape Sorter Bus with Tangram Classic 3D Push Pull Truck Toy.

Volunteer Haliya Charley fills Terry Thomas’ plate during Barb’s Family and Friends Thanksgiving meal Wednesday at The United Churches, downtown Olympia. Now in it’s 45th year the annual meal was started by Barb O’Neill and is kept going by her son Rodney after her passing in 2008. Steve Bloom Olympian file photo

Barb O’Neill Family and Friends

This nonprofit works to feed the needy and homeless community of Thurston County.

What they need: Gift cards, non-perishable foods and monetary donations.

How to donate: Contact Sarah O’Neill at 360-970-3555 or sarahoneill928@yahoo.com

Client 1: Family of 5. Single mom wears size 8 1/2 shoes, XL shirts and 17 pants. 16-year-old son wears 2X shirts, and likes Ninja Turtles. 10-year-old girl wears shoe size 2, clothing size 8 and likes Shopkins toys. 3-month-old infant girl needs tummy time mat. All family members could use underwear, winter coats, gloves and hats, plus gift cards for groceries.

Client 2: Single father of one daughter. Father likes cars, would like gift cards for gas and O’Reilly’s or Walmart gift cards for possible car repairs as he drives six hours roundtrip to take daughter to dance class. Girl, age 10, could use a tablet for homework, an electric scooter, art supplies, beads, paints, pens, dolls, Monster High or Barbies items, head phones, prepaid Verizon phone card, sleeping bag, gift card for Fred Meyer.

Client 3: Family of three just wants items for 3-year-old. Child needs underwear and a winter coat; she wears shoe size 5, clothing size 5. Favorite toys are dolls. Gift cards for parents would be appreciated.