Monday, November 9, 2015

Socktober success story!

441 pairs of brand new socks for the kids of Holly House
Kid President is an internet super star, and he's using it for good. Two 5th grade teachers at one of our district schools took his challenge, and rallied the entire school to host a sock drive for SOCKTOBER to help people in their community.

The 5th graders created signs to put up around school, promoted the event with a take-home flyer, and set up boxes at the Sockhop (a school dance in October). They had a challenge to see which class could collect the most, while also getting contributions from the rest of the school.

Thank you Mrs Brown and Mrs Langston
for spearheading this project at your school!
They collected 441 pairs of brand new socks of all sizes to be distributed to children in our school district. Holly House feels blessed to be chosen as the recipient of these socks. Many of the children we support are homeless or living in substandard housing, and often go to school without socks and other necessities.

This school also hosts an annual toy drive to benefit Holly House and we appreciate their ongoing support. We love it when fellow students get involved and support each other and the community. Your generous hearts truly shine bright.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Holly House: Fall Update 2015

Volunteers at a prior event - will this be you this December?
We are starting to really ramp up our activities for our 3 day event in December. There has been a lot going on behind the scenes, and there will be a lot coming up! Stay tuned for volunteer requests and details about our shopping event the weekend of Dec 11th. Be sure you're on our email list so we can inform you of the site and volunteer details for the event by filling out our form on the volunteer profile page.

Here are some updates from Pam, our Executive Director:
  • We are broadcasting our very first ever year-end plea for financial support for Holly House. Our operational funds are in the negative.

    Please consider giving a monthly donation of $10, $15, $20 or a one time donation (or partner up with your company!). We need to be able to keep our lights on so we can continue to help our children with gifts and necessities.Holly House cannot continue without your support - Our children need your help! 
  • We are searching for an underwriter(s) for our 3 day event - this person or business would cover costs such as location rental fee, table rentals, chairs, etc. and in return their name(s) would be displayed at the event. Estimated costs are $2500. See our Sponsor page for more details. 
  • homemade cookies needed!
    Homemade cookies needed!
  • Our official website has been launched! Visit us at Thank you to Eric Cruthird and Jen Winckler for getting this up and running. 
  • We are beginning to sign people up to bake homemade cookies for our clients waiting in line to enter Holly House to shop for free for their children. Please contact Karen at to help. 
  • Donations are rolling in for our kids, including 30 pallets of new toys from one of our donors and 4 vanloads of toys from another donor. Thank you!!! 
    Drives are under way
    Drives are under way
  • We have begun pajama, sock, underwear, sports equipment, and stocking stuffer drives. If you, your business, or organization would like to host a drive or drop box, please contact us! Neighborhood schools have also begun organizing drives. Our teens historically are most under-served by Holly House, and we are pushing to get an abundance of items for them this year. If you can't host a drive but still want to donate items, we are collecting them now
  • Our Macaroni Grill Fundraiser was a huge success, thank you to everyone who came out to support us. We don't have final numbers yet, but we do know that sales for their typical Tuesday increased greatly because of our event. 
  • All of the paperwork has been submitted to the IRS and we are awaiting final approval for our 501(c)(3) status. This means we would no longer need a fiscal sponsor and will be our own entity. We are currently still interviewing for additional Board members.
  • We love your trick or treat leftovers
    We love your Trick or Treat leftovers 
  • We will have a Volunteer Handbook for all volunteers helping with the 3 day event this year. Thank you to Dominic Aldridge for your offer to help with this huge task! 
  • We accept Halloween candy to use in stockings! Donate any unwanted candy to the kids of Holly House. 

  • We are so excited about our wishlist - you can go to the wishlist, select gifts and necessities for our kids, and the items will be shipped directly to us. This link is also listed on our website. 
    click to visit our wishlist!
Thank you for your continued support of Holly House and our kids. We could not do Holly House without all of you!

Pam Martinez

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Volunteer Spotlight: Cindy Goodman

Here is Cindy at a PJ sorting event
One of our dedicated volunteers found us while working with children in 2 of our supported schools. Please meet Cindy Goodman: she sees on a daily basis the struggles that our families are in, and how it affects their children--no jackets, socks, or food can really impact their ability to learn. Not only does she volunteer, but she is a fierce financial supporter.

The impact that volunteering with Holly House has had on her drives her to help in many ways, most recently by procuring items and sponsors for our first ever Gala and auction, and she hopes to continue to find annual sponsors for Holly House.

I think her experience is best told in her own words, which she shared in a letter to Pam about what Holly House means to her:

"For many years, my husband, Greg, has gone out shopping during the holidays to buy toys to donate to various children’s charities and women’s shelters.  When our favorite women’s shelter shut down, he was referred to “Holly House”.  It was always rewarding and simple to donate either toys or money, but I learned that Holly House was also in need of volunteers, which seemed, to me, a much more personal way of giving help and seeing how these charities manage the tremendous need in our community.

I contacted Pam Martinez, who invited me to help with the Holly House holiday “shopping” event for low income families. I was humbled by the incredible number of items available, but mostly with the unbelievable amount of work put into this event and the enthusiasm each volunteer contributed. It was, by far, the best organized event I had seen, with everyone knowing their job and giving hours upon hours of their time to make it work like a well-oiled machine.   Most of all, I was touched by the genuine love and respect that showed on the faces of each volunteer, which is, to me, the most important part of any charity.

As a paraeducator, I see children on a daily basis who come to school with no socks, jackets, boots or gloves in the dead of winter. My first instinct is to bring these items to give them but, due to the pride and/or shame of the parents, we are not allowed to do so (we do provide these items for use while they’re at school, however). At Title I schools, two out of three meals a day are given (to approved students) by the school district, but I knew those kids were getting little to eat when at home, the most needy taking home backpacks of food on the weekends.

At Holly House, these families are given tickets based on their income, and are free to come “shop” for gifts and necessities for their children.  They are among other people who are in their same situation for a multitude of reasons, and they feel much more at ease. Accepting charity is not easy for most people, but through Holly House, the parents can provide their children with toys, pajamas, socks, underwear, dental supplies, stuffed animals, toiletries, hats, scarves and books while being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

I am a small player in this wonderful program; I have participated in a couple of planning meetings, and donate my time when my schedule allows.  Truckloads of necessities and toys come in from donors, and every item must be sorted and organized for efficient storage until they can be distributed.  The volunteers come from far and wide to get the job done, with shared camaraderie and a sense of purpose.

Pam Martinez is the driving force behind Holly House (along with many volunteers, without whom none of this would be possible).  Pam seems to have had a “calling”, and somehow manages to overcome every obstacle thrown at her. When there is need, she finds a way.  I am honored to know each and every person I’ve met through Holly House, and hope to continue working alongside them to give a hand up to families who need it." 
                               ~ Cindy 

Monday, October 19, 2015

There are still children going without

Dear Friends of Holly House,

We are grateful for all the support you have given Holly House and the many children we serve. Because of your help we have been able to provide Christmas for over 2,000 children.

BUT there are still children out there that are going without. So, with just a little more help, we will be able to reach out to make sure our kids get what they need.

Please take a moment to read and print out our sponsorship packet (628 KB). Give it to your family, friends, and anyone you know who owns or manages a business. Help us spread the word.

Thank you,


Pam Martinez
Holly House Executive Director

Click here to download PDF (628 KB)

Friday, October 9, 2015

How to host a toy drive

We have had a few schools hold toy and pajama drives for us and we thought we'd give you a step-by-step process in the event you wanted to organize one as well! These details can also be used to organize a drive at your workplace or business. Read about of one of the past school drives, and a touching example of student involvement.

Brier Elementary had the support of the
Principal and Student Council
·  Contact Pam Martinez (425-673-0526) and let her know of your plans, discuss details. Plan your drive for the week before the Holly House event to minimize storage issues. 
·  Work with school administration and PTA to make sure they are on board. 
·  Offer your time and support to fully execute the drive; this alleviates any pressure for someone to say "no" since you're volunteering to do the work. 
·  Get some upper grade level students to paint some signs a few weeks before and post them around school. Include it in the PTA newsletter the month/weeks before. 
·  Enlist the help of the student council - they may be able to make daily morning announcements a few days before and the week of the drive. If your school has a Facebook page, use that to post updates and reminders. 
·  Create a project meter or tally (a thermometer goal, or number of boxes collected count, etc). Set a goal of # of boxes filled, or number of items collected, number of students supported, etc. We recommend not offering incentives, but rather help kids feel good about their participation. 
·  Be mindful of the fact that many students at your school may qualify to be a participant in Holly House, and may have nothing to give, but may be very willing to give their time somehow (encouraging participation, making signs, standing in collection zone, etc) 
·  Set up brightly colored (wrapped in holiday paper) boxes in the Office or Library. Make sure they have a sign for when they are unattended. Have someone stand at a box in the drop off/pick up area morning and afternoon, perhaps wearing a funny hat or with a big sign. These are your cheerleaders, friendly faces to help people remember why they are donating. 
School families sorting donations gathered
over the week in a volunteer's garage
·  If the school doesn't have room to store the items (or doesn't want to be responsible), transport the items to a location off site daily, but tally the items so the students can still visually see progress somehow. 
·  Keep in mind that Holly House currently has no permanent storage facility, so it is preferred that you keep the items and deliver them to the Holly House event itself rather than having us find a place to store them. (Someone's garage works well for the week). 
·  Sort the toys - stuffed animals, games, teen gifts, pajamas, etc. Create an inventory to give to Holly House including # of toys and clothing items and estimated value (you can use an average cost!). You do NOT need to inventory each item separately, just a count is fine. 
·  Arrange drop off the morning of the first day of the event. Bring your donation and see what Holly House is all about at the same time. It may take several car-loads if you're successful! Plan to caravan and make an event of it. 
·  Organize members of your school to volunteer for the Holly House event and help to set up for the event and/or work the day of the shopping event, and/or clean up. It's a 3 day project and we need LOTS of hands to move in and out of a gymnasium, while at the same time creating a holiday wonderland for our clients. 

Toy delivery to Holly House - what a good feeling!!

Holly House currently only collects new toys for distribution - sports equipment and teen gifts are especially needed. New pajamas, socks, and underwear are also popular items to collect at drives

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Thankful for laundry?

As I holler upstairs to my children to put away their piles of clean laundry, a thought strikes me about the clients of Holly House that I wanted to share here. A week's worth of laundry (or more, if I'm being honest) creates a mom's daunting task - sort, wash, fold, put away, repeat. There is SO MUCH laundry. But upon deeper thought, perhaps I should be thankful for this perceived problem. That my children have stacks of laundry to put away....that I can wait over a week to do laundry....that my children go to school with clothes that are not in ill-repair, that fit, and that are stylish.

I feel lucky to say, "Put away your laundry!"
After working with Holly House for almost 3 years now, I know our goal is to provide 2 pairs of pajamas, and 5 pairs each of socks and underwear to every child we support. This is not to boost up their "stash", or to give them something new, or give them something to open on Christmas morning. This is so they have one pair of pajamas to wear to stay warm at night, while another pair can be laundered (perhaps at a coin laundry). This is so they have a sock on each foot; so they don't have to decide between clean socks or no socks that day. This is so they have clean underwear to put on at least several days a week.

While I feel blessed that we are able to provide (sometimes in excess) for our own children, I feel inspired to pass these blessings on to those who are not in a place where they can do the same. For a family who struggles with housing, utility costs, job worries, or medical bills, things like basic necessities often just don't make the short list of where the money can go. Holly House can help put their minds at ease for this small but essential part of daily "kid life".

Won't you join me in getting these kids not just something new and fun at the holidays, but something they need to stay happy, warm, and healthy? You can shop directly from the Holly House Amazon wishlist or you can make a monetary donation online. Our goal of 5 pairs of underwear and socks for every child is a lofty one, and we'd love to be able to meet it this year - your help would be greatly appreciated.

~ Jen Winckler
Holly House volunteer & blogger

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fundraiser at Romano's Macaroni Grill set for 9/23

Please join us at Romano's Macaroni Grill on Wed 9/23! Bring your friends and have a night out.

Dine with us (11am-10pm) at the Alderwood Mall location, and mention the fundraiser. 
Macaroni Grill will be donating a portion of the daily sales to Holly House. 
This will be a great way to support the work we do.

We will also be collecting new socks and underwear. 
See event on Facebook for more details, and flyer pictured below
click to enlarge

Monday, August 3, 2015

Recipient of the playset gift announced

The Pacheco family - Edwin (dad), Taitus (6), Darius (8), Maddox (5), Lulu (mom)
Casey and Neil (volunteer builders in the back)
Earlier this month, we asked for nominations for a family to receive a Step 2 outdoor playset - we are pleased to share that we delivered the outdoor playset to a very deserving family.  The Pacheco family wrote the winning nomination, and the whole family was present to receive the gift. Casey (a Holly House volunteer), and Neil (a Board member), were there to assist with delivery and assembly.

Thank you to a generous donor for the playset that we were able to gift to one of our families.

Scroll down to see the photos that help tell this touching story!

Taitus studying the plans

The whole family anxious to help Neil begin assembly



Dad (Edwin) and Maddox getting ready to put in the screws

The boys (Taitus and Maddox) eagerly waiting for the guys to finish so they can play!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Join us at National Night Out Aug 4th

Come visit our booth at the National Night Out event - We will have a balloon animal artist for the kids giving away free balloons! This event is packed full of FREE family fun. 
Please stop by our booth and say HI!
Fill a child's stocking with joy!

Tuesday, August 4, 6-9pm
Evergreen Playfield, 22205 56th Ave W
Mountlake Terrace, WA

We will be collecting Stocking Stuffers for all ages, and our friends at the American Legion booth will be collecting teen gifts for us. Now's a great time to drop off anything you've been collecting (new items only, please).

The City of Mountlake Terrace will present its 19th annual gathering of citizens and civic leaders. The award-winning celebration includes games, food, family fun, entertainment, demonstrations, music, contests, prizes, and displays by dozens of city businesses - including Holly House!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Volunteer Spotlight: Ingrid Adams

We would like to introduce you to one of our long time volunteers at Holly House: Ingrid Adams. Ingrid has been working with Holly House for the past 5 years and her outgoing personality are a true asset to us and the kids we serve. Her career experience is in property management and the skills she brings to Holly House benefit us in many ways.

Promoting Holly House at one of our community events
Ingrid is a procurement magician - she talks to anyone and everyone about Holly House and often they are surprised to hear about us. Ingrid says "It's amazing how many people want to help but just don't know how or where." She has arranged drop boxes at businesses she frequents, spreads the word to friends who may want to volunteer or donate items, found people who love to knit scarves/hats for us, as well as procured auction items for our recent Gala. She's also a whiz at selling raffle tickets at our events - maybe you've purchased a few from her! As our Director says, "Ingrid can sell ice to an Eskimo!"

Ingrid reminds me that we often don't realize the talents we have - for her, talking to anyone or approaching them about an opportunity to help is natural, but not everyone can do that. Her hope is that more people learn about Holly House and find ways to contribute in whichever way comes natural to them.

Busy at the Gala selling raffle tickets
She started with Holly House by procuring books from local businesses and managing the book booth at the Holly House event. She loves how the volunteers all come together and how some clients will volunteer out of appreciation for the help they receive.

It is rewarding to Ingrid knowing that all of the work being done benefits families right here in our own neighborhoods. "All of the parents are so appreciative and often many come back year after year and say they don't know what they would do without Holly House"; and that's something she is very proud to help with. Volunteering has been eye-opening for her, "to learn that these families don't have change to spare to buy things at Goodwill for a few dollars - everything they receive makes a big impact in their lives, and in turn makes a huge impact on the children. By helping the parents, we are helping the children".

Through family ties, Ingrid knew Holly House's Director, Pam Martinez, and heard about Holly House through her. Ingrid loves children (she has 5 grandchildren through marriage, and lots of nieces and nephews), and the fact that Holly House is local made it a good fit. Coincidentally, she has several good friends named Holly! She also is a volunteer usher at the 5th Avenue, Paramount, and Village theaters and has volunteered to help find sponsorship for community events for other organizations she works with. Currently on a career break to spend time with family, she's enjoying the Western Washington scenery and seasons.

Thank you, Ingrid, for your dedication and effort that you have given to Holly House over the past 5 years.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Help us find the right child in need of a NEW outdoor playset

Do you know that there is a group working to provide Christmas for poor and homeless children right here in the Edmonds School District? Holly House works with 15 schools in ESD, providing parents a chance to shop for free pajamas, socks, toys and other necessities.

This month, we have a new “Step Up” play set for 2 to 6 year olds, to give away. Do you know a child who could use a fun to play on, back yard play set?

To nominate a child or siblings you think needs a play set:
Please email (Limit submissions to 500 words.)

  • The child’s/children’s first name/s only
  • Their age/s
  • Tell us why you think they should receive a new play set
Members of the Holly House team will select one recipient July 15, 2015, based on need, family situation, and/or other factors. Be sure to include your name and contact information so if your nominee is chosen we can reach you!

Interested in helping Holly House all year round? Visit our volunteer sign up page for more information.

The play set winner/s will be photographed and pictures will be used in Holly House materials*. Nominees must currently reside in the Edmonds School District.

We know that there are many children deserving of this gift and we will receive many submissions; please do your best to give a brief account of their story while still giving important details to help us understand their need.

Many children WANT a new play set, we are looking for kids who truly NEED one.

*The winner will require parent or guardian permission.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Congratulations Pam Martinez, KIRO's Hometown Hero June 2015

We are very pleased to announce that our Executive Director, Pam Martinez, was the recipient of the KIRO Radio 97.3FM Hometown Hero Award for June, 2015. Nominations are received from community members to recognize an exceptional citizen in the local community who has impacted and inspired others. We are so pleased for Pam to have received this recognition, it is well deserved! She puts 110% into everything she does for the kids supported by Holly House, often sacrificing her own needs.

Below is the story as shown on KIRO's Hometown Heroes Page:
"Pam Martinez of Lynnwood learned many children in her community were going to school without socks, coats and underwear, so she made it her mission to help those children. In 2006 she founded Holly House, a holiday gift program that provides children with gifts and necessities.

Pam dedicates her time fundraising and collecting donations to provide gifts for over 2,000 children in her school district.

Because of Pam's tenacity and care, KIRO Radio and your community credit union, WSECU are proud to honor Pam as a Hometown Hero and award her with $2,000 as a way to say thank you for all that you do."

Listen to the promotional segment that will be played on the radio announcing her as the June 2015 Hometown Hero!

Way to go Pam, we are so lucky to have you at the helm of Holly House.
~ Jen Winckler, Blog Manager

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Holly House: May update

You may or may not know that our Director, Pam, is busy as a bee all year long making sure everything is ready for the event in December. Several dedicated volunteers work alongside her and help when needed, but there is always need for more!

Here are some updates of what's been going on behind the scenes at Holly House:

Lots of dolls to dress still! 
  • The event location used the past 3 years is no longer available to us, so a new one has been secured. A team of volunteers is going to look at it on June 15th to ponder logistics and new challenges with a new location. 
  • Our new website is close to launching (it will link up to this blog).
  • We are close to submitting all of the paperwork for becoming an official 501(c)(3) and will no longer need a fiscal sponsor. 
  • We are scheduling another Dress the Cabbage Patch Doll party soon- we are still looking for doll accessories (see link for details)! 
  • 3 grants have been submitted, with more in the works. GRANT WRITERS are needed! 
    New toys ready for new homes
  • Partnered with Clothes For Kids to maximize the influence of both of our organizations - we both serve the same student population in the Edmonds School District. 
  • Conducting Board Member interviews. If you would like to interview for the Board or think you know someone who would be a great board member, please contact us! 
  • Fall Fundraiser determined - Save the date! Dine at Macaroni Grill Alderwood - September 23rd.  More details to come. 
  • Accepted an invitation to have a booth at the Mountlake Terrace National Night Out, Tuesday August 4th, 6-9pm. (See calendar here for more information). We will also be holding a sock and underwear drive at this event.

Many things still need YOUR help! Please contact Pam if there is something that fits your skill set. 
Donations for teens needed
  • Grant writers - we rely 100% on donations and grants to fund our work. The more grants we can apply for and receive, the more we can help our kids. 
  • Teen gift collection - our teens often do not have enough items at our event. We are putting a focus on seeking donations for this age group (art sets, cosmetics, sports equipment, headphones, gift cards, etc). Some of you pledged to purchase a new item for our teens every month as a New Year's Resolution - how is that going?
  • Fall Fundraiser - a steady income is required to keep Holly House functioning. How can we meet our financial needs? Ideas and volunteer involvement are both still needed for this big task.
  • Board Members - we are actively seeking Board Members who can bring experience, dedication, financial backers and planning, and enthusiasm to our team. Will you join us? 
  • Warehouse space is still desperately needed - does anyone have a contact to introduce us to?
That's the update from last month. Whew! What a lot to cram in to one month. 
Thank you for your continued support. Our network of supporters has doubled over the last year! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cabbage Patch dolls get a makeover

Everyone hard at work getting dolls dressed
Volunteers of all ages came to our "Dress 200 Cabbage Patch Dolls" work party last week, and it was a huge success. Although we didn't get all of the dolls refurbished, we made a huge dent in the project. It was a gorgeous sunny day so we pulled the tables outside the storage unit and went to work. It was so much fun. We had several youngsters helping as well. We can't wait to do it again!

If you have gently used Cabbage Patch Dolls and/or accessories that we can put in their little hands, let us know. We want every doll to come with accessories. Did you know that Preemie baby clothes fit the dolls perfectly? We could sure use more:
- clothes
- shoes
- socks
- plain preemie diapers
- pacifiers
- doll baby bottles
- small stuffed animals
- My Little pony sizes toys, etc.

Robin showing off some finished dolls
Several of our volunteers took some work home - dolls that needed some TLC (fixing hairdos, mending clothes, removing marker that previous owners used to draw on their faces, etc.). We had a few ladies from the Mountlake Terrace Senior Center join us, and one of them was overheard saying "Dressing dollies made me think of my childhood." Imagine the look on a child's face Christmas morning; opening a gift of a doll with accessories that has been meticulously groomed and styled just for them.

We have many volunteer opportunities, and this is one of them. If doing something like this is interesting to you, please contact us here on the blog (click the Contact button on the right)! You can also stay up to date on volunteer opportunities like this by checking the calendar on the Volunteer page.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

First ever Fundraiser Gala was a huge success!

Guests having a ball raising their paddles
Well, we did it!! Our Gala Committee put in many hours of hard work to pull off an amazing event that helped us raise just over $13,000 for Holly House. If you were one of our guests, we are so grateful that you joined us. If you missed it this year, please plan for next year! We'd love to have you in on the fun.

Many of our supporters were unaware that kids go to school without socks and underwear, or sleep in cold rooms because heat is not a luxury they can afford. The pajamas, necessities, and coats are not just gifts during the holidays, they are basic needs that often go unmet. Holly House is more than just toys and gift giving - it's helping families provide things to their children than they so desperately wish they could, but just can't at the moment. Many of our clients become volunteers because they want to give back to the organization that helped them at a time when they needed it.

One of our clients sharing her
experience with Holly House
One of the highlights of the night was hearing from two of the mothers of families supported by Holly House. Their moving stories brought a feeling to the room that was both inspiring and humbling. The work that Holly House is able to do because of volunteers and donors is truly appreciated by our clients, and hearing it in person makes it very motivating to want to continue.

At the Gala (which was held at the Mountlake Terrace Senior Center) photos with Alice in Wonderland characters were taken, raffle tickets purchased, silent auction items were won, live auction items were fought over, and in the end, money was raised for Holly House to continue to support the 2,000 kids we serve in 15 Edmonds School District Schools. We also collected from guests quite a few bags of donations of toys, stuffed animals, and other items that they brought to contribute to the cause.
Hot, cold, and passed appetizers
plus desserts filled our plates

What a spread we had, thanks to the Red Dragon Casino! There was wine, dessert, and lots of laughter. Troy McVickers was our MC and auctioneer and encouraged everyone to participate; from the sounds in the room and the looks on people's faces, he really did a wonderful job.

Thanks to David Pan from for writing an amazing piece for the online papers, and David Carlos for taking beautiful photographs. You can find the article here - please check it out and read more about the evening! Go to our Facebook page to find the photo album with all of the photos from the night. Feel free to share any you have taken as well!

Photo booth fun

PHOTO BOOTH: If you chose to partake in the photo booth at the event, you can find your photos here. Thank you Heidi Marletto for donating your photo booth.

Some of the live auction items
Thank you to our sponsors for the night: Red Dragon Casino, Thrivent Financial, System Solutions of WA, Pinnacle Electric, Electonic Business Machines, Golden Insurance, LLC, and Aramark. In addition, all of our auction items were donated by local businesses; without them, our Gala wouldn't have been the success it was. A huge thank you to the Holly House volunteers who gave tirelessly to plan, decorate, organize, and execute a magical evening; Karen Orstad, Lisa Alfie, Ingrid Adams, Cherry Smith, Janine Kirkpatrick, Ella Nakamura, Monty Reed, Aimee LePage, Jen Winckler, Leslie Smith, Milt Culver, Annie Nygaard, Briana Wirtz, Kim Gorney, Cindy Goodman, Alicia Carter, and the crew of High School students - we couldn't have done it without you all!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gala Auction item preview

We are blessed to have many exciting items up for auction during our Gala on March 7th. Thank you to our generous donors for making these part of our event! Come experience a live auctioneer and get ready to have some fun. We will also be offering a silent auction for some of these items. PLUS, a raffle - where a ticket will earn you a chance to win some great items, and you don't need to be part of the bidding process.

All proceeds go to operational costs for Holly House 2015. Bring your checkbook for easy checkout! Don't have tickets yet? Purchase them here.

7 Night Stay in Lake Chelan: Privately owned 2 bedroom/2 bathroom ground floor condo. (Details and restrictions available at Gala) Value $2,100

Chihuly Glass and Garden Exhibit and lunch for 4. You and three friends will enjoy all this exhibition has to offer!  In the Exhibition Hall, Glasshouse and Garden, you’ll view a presentation of Chihuly’s significant series of work including the suspended Glasshouse Sculpture.  Stroll through the Garden day or night and enjoy the installations juxtaposed with the natural environment.  Enjoy the dishes in the Collection Cafe as you’re surrounded by Chihuly’s personal collections.  Two exhibition catalogs are yours to keep as mementos of this experience.  $250 value

Other live auction items include: 
  • Lynnwood Police officer citizen ride along experience (6 hours)
  • Pool party for up to 25 people at the Lynnwood Recreation Center $195 value
  • Gift certificate for 4 to Edmonds Performing Arts center "Sing-a-long Grease". Friday April 24th 7:30pm. $60 value
  • Handcrafted "Frozen" themed girl's bedroom set
  • 2 American Girl 20” Dolls with outfits
  • Mariner Moose and 2 opening day game tickets + more
  • 2 different wine tasting experiences
  • Instant wine cellar (12 bottles)
  • Cooking class for 2 at Tom Douglas' Hot Stove Society Cooking School
Silent Auction
Our Silent auction will be teeming with activity as well. Here's a sampling of what will be available at the Gala for bidding: 
  • 2 Miche Purses
  • Pamper Me (female) basket
  • Theater tickets (Driftwood Players)
  • Melissa & Doug puzzle & toy basket
  • Restaurant gift certificates
  • Cake Pop Basket
  • Coffee Basket
  • Wine and Chocolate Basket
  • ...and more!!
Please join us for this fun-filled night, and help support the 2,000 low-income children in the 15 Edmonds School District schools that we will be supporting this year during the holidays. Helps us make this an event to remember! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Volunteer spotlight: Gala committee member, 13 year old Leslie Smith

Here at Holly House, we are always thankful for our volunteers, but occasionally one comes into our folds that truly is a treasure.

Meet Leslie Smith, a 13 year old high school student who is very interested in giving back to the community. She worked her heart out for 3 days at the Holly House Event in the pajama booth and is currently serving on the Gala Committee.

She says "I loved the feeling - I loved seeing the people get their stuff and how happy they were." For Leslie, it not only was a fun experience, but she really enjoyed seeing the looks on people's faces and to see who the gifts are going to and hear why they need them.

She's currently working with the Gala Committee because she had a desire to keep helping Holly House and has had lots of fun meeting every week. She's gone to local businesses asking for donations and sponsorships, and sold tickets to people at her dad's Windermere office. She's personally advocating that parents of her friends join us on March 7th, in addition to volunteering year round with Holly House. Her drive and enthusiasm are contagious and just what is needed in our community.

Leslie wants people to know how fun and rewarding it is to volunteer and pay it forward in your local community. It's also important to recognize how many people are in need of help. For her, Holly House is the perfect way to do that.

Leslie's mom, Cherry Smith, says that her daughter wants people to look outside of themselves and see how much need there is, compared to how many of us have so much. Sometimes the simplest gift is not giving gifts but giving time, reaching out and helping.

Leslie would encourage people to volunteer, to help kids like her who would go without if not for you and your generous spirit. People coming to Holly House so desperately in need for their kids and are so appreciative. Leslie has seen this first hand and has been a great outreach ambassador for Holly House.

“I think she is pretty awesome!” says mom, Cherry Smith. We couldn't agree more.

Thank you Leslie!!

Please join us for our March 7th Gala, and meet Leslie and many of our other great volunteers. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spring Fundraiser Gala Announced - March 7th

Get your tickets before they are all gone! 

March 7th, 2015
6pm - 9pm
Mountlake Terrace Senior Center
Tickets - $35

Join us for our first ever Fundraiser Gala, "Don't be late for a very important date".  Enter our Wonderland and meet Alice, The Queen of Hearts, and the Cheshire Cat - plus have your picture taken with them!!

It is sure to be a magical evening filled with celebration and hope. There will be an exciting live auction, plus a silent auction. Get an overview of the work that we do at Holly House. Meet some of our families and hear how Holly House has helped them. Meet some of our volunteer team, and make connections with local community members.

All the while enjoying heavy hors d'oeuvres and dessert, plus a wine tasting.

We will also be selling raffle tickets for some lovely prizes. All proceeds of the event go towards operating costs for Holly House, and as our first large scale fundraiser we are hopeful it will provide much needed funds to sustain administration costs, plus storage and procurement costs of holiday gifts and necessities for the 2,000 low income children we support in the Edmonds School District.

We will have a donation collection bin available; you can bring your favorite toy, sports equipment, or even socks and underwear to add to our cause (items for teens especially needed).

Visit our special Gala page to purchase tickets online. 

If you are interested in donating any items for the auction or raffle, please email us using the Contact Us button on the right of the page, or by calling Pam Martinez at 425-673-0526.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Holly House to focus on new gifts for 2015 - retiring gently used program

Given limited resources (time, money, storage, and volunteers), we would like to focus what we have on giving our families brand new items – which is something they don't often get. Effective 12/15/14, we have discontinued our gently used program.

Beginning with our collection for the 2015 Holly House event, we ask that only NEW items be donated (with the exception of “only looked at but never cuddled” Stuffed Animals that still look new).

Clients shopping the gently used section at the 2014 event
Your gently used items (clothing, shoes, books, household goods, and toys) can still find loving homes with people in our community who need them. Investigate options such as Buy Nothing Facebook groups,,, or other local non-profits to share those items.

Our families greatly appreciated receiving extra items over the past years, and we are faced with a tough choice to no longer offer this at Holly House. We look forward to dedicating all of our resources to giving them the best quality items and the best shopping experience while visiting Holly House in 2015.

We collect items year-round for our event in December, including:

  • New Toys
  • New Pajamas - warm, winter style
  • Stuffed Animals - all sizes (looking new, even though they don't need to be)
  • Books - New and those that look new
  • New Socks and Underwear
  • New Hats and Scarves
  • Stocking Stuffer items (New)

The ages of the children we support is 0-17. Often the 8-17 age is less popular to buy gifts for, and has the greatest shortage.

You can donate items at any time at our year-round collection sites. As always, monetary donations are welcome, as we can use bulk buying power to buy discounted items.

Thank you for supporting Holly House!
~ Pam Martinez, Executive Director


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