Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Holly House Event

They toy area being set up (click image to enlarge)

Holly House was such a huge blessing to so many families this year. It could not have happened without the help of all of the amazing volunteers that showed up to help. And of course, the Holly House Team and Board Members. This year we served almost 1600 children.

 Please click here to see more photos from the event this year.

We take boxes and boxes from storage, bring them to the gym in piles, and actually transform it into a magical shopping experience for our families. We have from 3:30 pm Friday till Saturday night at 11 pm to do this. Only a miracle and lots of volunteers working really hard can pull this off.

Thank you so much to all the people who donated toys and gifts to our kids. For most of our kids this is the only toy they will get for Christmas. Hopefully, with your help, next year we will have enough toys to give them two toys.

Among the thing we were able to give each child were:
  • a bag of stocking stuffers
  • dental supplies
  • a stuffed animal
  • books
  • a toy
  • a pair of pajamas
  • socks/underwear
  • a hat and scarf
    Jan & Phyllis setting up the coat display.
  • one coat (per family)

Holly House is not just about toys at Christmas time. Our children need basic things like pajamas and coats. So many of our families can't afford to keep the heat on at night so their children go to bed cold. Warm flannel and polar fleece pajamas are a simple solution to a serious problem. 

This year, thanks to a huge donation, we were able to give each family one coat. One day...a coat for every child. So many of our kids don't have a coat. So often, a hat and scarf is the only thing that keeps them from the biting cold.

We fill the stockings with make-up, shaving cream, deodorant, body lotions, hair accessories, etc and of course, candy, toys, books, stuff. Also thanks to the Verdant Health Commission we were able to pass out dental supplies as well. 

If you want to get your children involved with Holly House, have them sort through their stuffed animals and give the ones they don't play with any more to Holly House. They can even get their friends involved. Kids love to help and give and we need a lot of stuffed animals.  

A volunteer helping a parent pick out pajamas for her children
There are huge sales going on. Pick up an extra pair or two of pajamas and drop them off at the office at Armadillo Storage on Hwy 99 in Lynnwood, MS Helping Hands under the IGA in Edmonds, and the Mountlake Terrace Senior Center (they all take donations year round).

We have volunteer opportunities all year long in order to get Holly House ready for 2014. Please consider donating your time - it's one of our most valuable resources.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A nice write up from My Edmonds News

My Edmonds News did a lovely write up about our 2013 Holly House event. Please check it out!

We are recovering from the event, but will post updates and photos as soon as we can!!
Thank you to all of our volunteers and donors for helping us serve 2300 children this year!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Toy Drive spotlight - Brier Elementary

I wanted to share with you the excitement and pride that happens during a toy drive. It is easy for me to write this post, because I have been at our Brier Elementary Toy Drive every morning this week. This is the first year we have held a drive, and I wasn't sure what the reaction would be. I don't know why I was worried...

The response has been incredible, and I'm sure the same thing happened at all of the local schools holding drives. Knowing that these toys are going to go to fellow students and neighbors makes people feel at ease about donating. It gives them a sense of worth and pride to help someone so close. I knew this would be an easy thing to sell. What I didn't expect was the reaction of the children.

Every morning we had at least five 5th and 6th graders signed up to help at morning drop off (we wanted to include the kids as much as possible). This turned into a small crowd gathered around the drop box each morning. Excitement built as we brought the bin from the office to see what had accumulated since the past morning. "Oh, cool, that's a fun toy!" "Wow, look at the bin, it is overflowing!!" "How many bins does this make" "Should we move them to the car to make more room?"

You could tell that the kids bringing in toys were proud to help. Some were a little shy. Some were a little hesitant to put one of their own toys in the bin for someone else. But they all opened their backpacks and hearts and shared something with someone else. Some of the kids had nothing to give, but they were there every morning willing to help in whatever way they could. Some of these kids I know could probably use the help of Holly House themselves.

One boy (5th grade) became a cheerleader of sorts...asking kids (politely) "have you donated yet?". He also said that most everyone in his class had donated, and he even brought in extra toys so that those who hadn't could have one to donate.

One boy (a kindergartner) approached with much hesitation, saying he had brought a stuffed animal to donate. He left, but then came back. Out of his backpack he pulls out his "very favorite" stuffed animal that was securely wrapped in a knit hat for the journey. He put it in the bin and I asked him if he was sure, he said "yeah, I brought it to donate", and he had a big big smile as he walked away.

One boy said, "oh, is this the last day? I didn't get to go through my things and find something". He was there every morning giving moral support. I told him that just helping is a great gift in itself. He smiled and agreed, and he said "maybe next year".

Next year, for certain!!!

~ Jen, Holly House volunteer & Blogger

Here is the result of our Toy Drive - wow!!! It takes up the floor of our double garage

We have over 17 boxes now that the day is over!

Holly House is a year in the making...

Sorting party at the storage facility Nov 2013
You know, I love the incredible response we are getting for our kids but I want to share something that is close to my heart.

It takes us all year long to prepare for the Holly House weekend. We start a day or two after the event, shopping for 70% - 90% sales for the next year. We write grants, do sports equipment, sock & underwear drives in the spring. We scour garage sales for donations for Christmas and home decor for the families. We do fundraisers and many, many sorting parties.

Often it's the same few people doing all the work for months and months and months. We get so tired and really need help. I would challenge some of you to think about joining us throughout the year, to volunteer to help.

There are so many things you could do from sorting parties, having guests bring underwear & socks to family or friend gatherings, getting your company involved, donating your leftover gently used garage sale items, encourage your children and their friends to go through their stuffed animals and donate the ones they aren't using any more, doing a fund raiser for us, to name a few....

We need you to make this happen.

We will work on communicating out our needs throughout the year, and stay tuned here and on Facebook for updates! You can always contact me and we will work out a way for you to help throughout the year.

~Pam Martinez, Executive Director

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holly House participation is filled for 2013

At this time, we are closed for applications for Holly House 2013. 

Sadly, we are unable to help every family in need this holiday within the Edmonds School District, (though we are making great strides to meet that goal someday in the future).

The final week is here!

We are well on our way to opening the doors for Holly House THIS WEEKEND!!

First car load of toys from Brier Elementary Toy Drive

Donations of toys and PJ's are still greatly appreciated and needed, and can be dropped off this week at Armadillo Storage (23031 Highway 99, Edmonds) and Sparta's Pizza (17630 Hwy 99, Lynnwood).

We have found tables and all of the pieces are coming together to put on this giant event. 
Thank you all for your support!

A note from Pam Martinez (Executive Director):
"We had our last planning meeting tonight (12/9), getting all our ducks in a row for Holly House this coming weekend. The excitement is building, the donations are flooding in and we are all rolling up our sleeves for a fun but intense weekend. I have such an amazing team.

Over and over I am reminded that none of this could happen without a good and faithful God and the incredible volunteers He has given us.

It touches my heart so much to see the relief and joy the parents experience when they walk into Holly House and realize their children will be taken care of, that they will have warm clothes and pajamas, that they will have a toy to play with and books to read. That they will have toothpaste and a tooth brush. Our kids deserve so much and what a privilege it is to be part of an amazing gift, this thing called Holly House.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Countdown - less than 2 weeks to go!

As everyone starts to prepare for the holidays, we are busy as bees at Holly House ensuring we are ready for our families at our shopping event. We are within 2 weeks of our date, and are still in need of many donations! Perhaps you want to organize a pajama or toy drive with your friends, family, or work group? Please spread the word! Feel free to leave a comment here if you plan to surprise us with some last minute donations!

We have a growing number of people who need the items we provide, and we would love to be able to support all of them this year.
Our PJ sorting party in 2011
Right now we need more:
  • Pajamas (ages infant - 10 years old)
  • Toys (ages infant - 17 years old) 
  • Socks and underwear (ages infant - 17 years old)
You can drop them at any of our pre-arranged drop boxes, or contact us to arrange a large drop off!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Volunteer Spotlight - Sarah

Here is Sarah embracing our Santa cutout last year (2012) at Holly House.
She's such a gem. She is responsible for one of the yummy meals our volunteers get during the event and she has been relentless in promoting a toy/pajama drive for us.

Last year she just came to feed us and couldn't leave. Today, with a huge grin on her face, she told me she was bringing a friend to help this year at the Holly House Event. Who could ask for a better volunteer...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holly House's first board meeting!

Holly House had it's very first Board Meeting today. Another step in the journey to get our own 501(c)(3) non profit status instead of being under a fiscal sponsor.

We have the best, and I mean very best Board who's sole goal is the good of the kids. I am so blessed to take this journey with them.

~ Pam, Executive Director

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cookie coordinator needed 12/15

We need home made cookies to serve to our parents on December 15 as they wait to enter Holly House to begin their free shopping experience for their children. We have had some generous offers to help, and could sure use some more. But what we could really use is a person to help COORDINATE this cookie project - we will have about 550 families to serve, some with one parent, some with two.  If you have some time to give, and are good at organizing, please contact Pam. We would love your help.

UPDATE 11/25 - Thank you to Karen, our new cookie project coordinator! We can still use lots of bakers to make cookies though!

Thank you Urban Coffee for donating all the coffee and hot chocolate/cider we need. Cookies and hot cider, YUM.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Walmart toy drive 11/30

Holly House Toy and Pajama Drive at the Lynnwood Walmart (on 164th ST)

Look for the toy displays throughout the store! There will be a collection site at the front of the store. Help fill up the van!
Black Saturday - November 30, 2013 - 10:00 am to 4:00 pm


Friday, November 22, 2013

Schools supporting us with toy drives

Neighborhood schools in the Edmonds School District are gearing up for toy and pajama drives to support Holly House! What a great way for children to get involved - perhaps helping a neighbor or schoolmate without even realizing it. We can't wait to see the bins fill up at the local schools like the one in progress at Fred Meyer in Lynnwood (pictured below)

Schools doing Drives for Holly House 2013
Meadowdale Elementary – Toys
Terrace Park Elementary – Toys   
Brier Elementary – Toys & Pajamas
Lynnwood Elementary - Toys
Beverly Elementary – Stuffed Animals
College Place Middle – Stuffed Animals
Mountlake Terrace Elementary – Sock, Underwear
Mountlake Terrace High – Socks, Underwear, Pajamas
Meadowdale High – Pajamas, Toys

If your school or PTA would like to get involved, please use the Contact Us form on the Home page. We welcome any and all contributions, and setting up a drive can be a fun, easy way to boost holiday spirit at your school. We currently are able to support 15 schools in the district with our program. How amazing would it be to have enough supply to support them all?!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The giving spirit with Holly House

The Mountlake Terrace Senior Center continues to bring in gifts for our children
At Holly House, we are thankful every day for our amazing volunteers and members of the community who bring donations for the many children we help. My Edmonds News (an online newspaper) just wrote an article about ways to emphasize thankfulness and the spirit of giving with your children during the holidays. Check out the article for a great idea on how to do this! Included in this was to consider donating to Holly House. We are so grateful for their recognition of Holly House as being a noteworthy local non-profit!

Kids loved helping choose toys to "fill the ship" during our 2012 Treasure Island Pirates toy drive at Walmart

Children helping other children is a beautiful thing. We would love to hear how you get your children involved with your own family's giving to Holly House. Do you have them select toys? Are they part of a toy drive? Do they help volunteer? Please leave a comment below and share your ideas!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thank you JBF!

JBF (Just Between Friends) is the Nation's leading children's and maternity consignment sales event. They will be holding their holiday toy sale this weekend Nov 22-23rd at Gold Creek Church in Mill Creek. Look for them on Facebook "Just Between Friends of Lynnwood" to stay up to date on their projects.

These guys support us in huge ways.  They give us all the donated toys and clothes after the sale and do sock, underwear and pajama drives for us during their event. All admission fees from their event are given to Holly House as well.
They also bring a team with them to the Holly House Event.  They are the greatest people and we love being teamed up with them.  Thank you Heidi and Steve and your team!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Holly House November update

We are a month away from the Holly House Event. This year we will be serving over 2000 low-income children in 15 schools in the Edmonds School District.

We have been collecting donations all year long for our needy children. The storage units are getting full but we still need:

• 900 pairs of pajamas - infant to 10 year olds
• Toys and gifts for infants to 17 year olds
• Stuffed Animals – all sizes
• Individually wrapped candy for the stockings

Check our Drop off Locations tab at the top of the page for our current drop box locations!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tear down help needed 12/15

If any of you are available we sure could use more help for tear down. Last year the gym was cleaned up by 11:00 pm and everything back in storage by midnight. The more hands, the sooner we get to go home.

December 15th - 5pm - 11pm (approx) 

Please contact Pam if you are available to help! 

Marylynn from our wonderful Premera team is so dedicated to Holly House and our kids. She heads up the tear down team that comes on Sunday night to pack and clean up after all of the parents have shopped for their children.

Storage organization helpers

Last night 24 volunteers showed up at our Holly House storage unit to help us sort, size and pack stuffed animals, toys, stocking stuffers, table clothes, gently used items and to match knitted hats and scarves. 

A much needed pizza break.

There was so much to do and we are so grateful for all the help from the volunteers from Molina, Premera, Kohl's, Laurie and the teenagers she brought, Deidre and her family and of course, some of our Holly House Team. And if I forgot to mention anyone please forgive me. We are so thankful and blessed.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fred Meyer's kickoff toy drive

Yesterday kicked off a massive toy drive for our Holly House kids. This is the manager, David at the Fred Myer on 196th in Lynnwood. He has graciously place toy drop boxes at all three of their doors. Thank you so much David.

So many of our children have gone years without as much as a present at Christmas. So sad and hurtful. And so unnecessary. Help us make this the best Christmas every by buying and dropping off toys at our many locations around the Lynnwood and Edmonds area.

Drop Boxes can be found at:

SPARTAS Restaurant - on 99, Lynnwood
TACO TIME - on 196th & 44th, Lynnwood
FRED MYER - on 196th, Lynnwood
MS Helping Hands – 409 Howell Way (under IGA), Edmonds
Armadillo Storage Office - on Highway 99, Edmonds
Mt Lake Terrace Senior Center
Merrill Gardens, Mt Lake Terrace

Friday, November 8, 2013

Unwanted Halloween candy?

Candy, candy and more candy. Thank you Jodie, Annie, Ingrid and all the rest of you whose names I don't know that have donated your leftover Halloween Candy to Holly House. We have 2,000 stocking to put candy in for our kids. This is giving us a good start.

We still need a lot more. Keep that candy coming!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Great article on the work we do

Wow, Wow and Wow. Pivot Edmonds, a new facebook site just launched and made Holly House one of it's first articles. Click here to read the article.

Our hope is that it will bring more awareness to our program and the needs of our kids. Thank you Elizabeth Christensen for an amazing article. Please share with anyone who you may think would be interested! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Volunteer spotlight - Lisa A

We have so many volunteers who make Holly House possible. Today we will take a moment to focus on just one of them.

I met Lisa today at storage. Every couple of weeks she brings us a van load of toys, pajamas, stocking stuffers, clothing - whatever she thinks our kids will like. I asked her one day why she does it and she said, "It's just what I do". Oh Lisa, God will bless you mightily if He hasn't already! 
Thank you.  ~ Pam

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cabbage Patch doll refurbishing

We had 400 gently used Cabbage Patch dolls donated to us. They only need new hairdos and new clothes and they will be amazing presents for our kids.

I dropped in on the knitting group at Edmond's Senior Center. I just wanted to be part of the fun. Laughter, giggles, excitement, and Cabbage Patch dolls everywhere. Some had new hairdos, some had new hairdos and new clothes, some were going to the toe and finger repair shop. Others were on the floor, under seats, ready to be taken home for much needed makeovers.

These women are amazing and so talented. Thank you Susie for spearheading what has become a great gift to our kids.

Here's a message from Susie, our head "doll lady": "I took 14 dolls to the Edmonds Senior Center and came back with 3. (11 more have gone out) We have a great thing going there. One of the ladies is a beautician and works miracles with the hair, some others make cute clothes, some find darling outfits at the thrift stores. We trade dolls back and forth and supply what else they need that we do and pass it along. I brought one totally done doll home and one that needs shoes. I guess I am the shoe person. Two more are at the body repair person, one having a "knee replacement", and the other having a "pedicure". It's an awesome group!!"

If anyone else would like to take on one of our 400 donated dolls, fix their hair and give them new, bright cute clothes please contact us and we will get one (to as many as you like) into your hands. 

~ Pam Martinez, Director 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New and gently used stuffed animals needed

Have you outgrown your stuffed animals? Are you ready to give them up? Every year we give our kids a stuffed animal in their stocking and one to hug. That totals up to 4,000 stuffed animals every year.

We are on the hunt for stuffed animals of any size and looking like new, even though they may not be. See our Drop off locations tab to find a place to bring your stuffed animals, and give them a new loving home.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

501c3 status!

Good morning. This is an exciting time for Holly House. After six years and 3 fiscal sponsors, to whom we are very grateful, Holly House has begun the journey to obtain our own 501c3 non-profit status.

It's been a lot of hard work, big decisions, tons of paper work, meetings, soul searching, planning our goals and the direction we want Holly House to go. But mostly it's challenged us to remember our mission, "to help give our children what they need and to bring some relief to the families."

I am so proud to have been part of an amazing team who have given of their time, but mostly their hearts to help make this happen. Holly House would not exist without our team and the dedicated and caring volunteers we have.

Thank you for all your caring and support. And stay tuned as we continue this 501c3 journey to the end.

~ Pam Martinez, Director

Thursday, May 16, 2013

2012 photos show what we do!

There is a photo album on Facebook that shows great examples of what we do at Holly House.

Check it out to see our volunteers in action. We would love for each child to receive:
  • 2 stuffed animals
  • 4-6 books
  • stocking stuffers and necessities (deodorant, shampoo, etc.)
  • a hat and scarf
  • 2 new toys
 And each family to receive
  • a game
  • a fleece blanket
  • 10-15 items from the gently used section - clothing, toys, housewares, holiday items (both children and adult items. A great way to supplement gifts and provide something for the parents as well)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hanger sorting party

We had a "hanger sorting" party today and it was fabulous. 

Thank you for all the volunteers and Holly House team who came to help us sort the 100's and 100's and 100's of hangers it takes to make Holly House work. We spread out in the parking lot and with so many hands, had it done in 2 l/2 hours. Thank you everyone for all your hard work.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...