Giving Back: A Priceless Gift

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, New Year—or nothing at all—this season is one during which we remember others: our families, children, people going through hard times. Following are some of the ways you can help others during this holiday season. We’re writing about opportunities to help in the Tacoma area. You can find similar organizations in your own neck of the woods.

Join the John P Scapes Memorial Toy Run on December 21. It starts at 9:00 a.m. with breakfast at Uncle Sam’s Bar and Grill at 16003 Pacific Ave. S. in Spanaway. VFW Post 969 and the Tacoma Chapter of ABATE of Washington are putting on the run to benefit children in the Tacoma School District. After breakfast, it will be kickstands up at 10:30 a.m. Ride to VFW Post 969 at 3510 McKinley Ave. for a hot dog lunch at 1:00 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the toy run. Bring a toy for the kids; see suggestions for various age groups here. Ride sponsors are also collecting goods for homeless veterans such as, hats, socks, razors, personal hygiene items, and so on. Remember that both women and men can be homeless veterans.

Nativity House needs volunteers to help prepare and serve lunches and dinners during the holiday season. Nativity House is a homeless shelter that serves about 1600 meals every day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The 48,000-square-foot facility is on Yakima Avenue and shelters 167 people each night. Operated by Catholic Community Services, Nativity House offers day shelter and services like chemical dependency assessments for hundreds of other people who are homeless (or about to be homeless) in Tacoma. Some of its guests are living on the streets. Some are families for whom the end of the money came before the end of the month.

The Salvation Army is holding a Toy N Joy Event December 20, 21, and 22. On Tuesday the 20th, volunteers will help sort toys to set up CenturyLink Exhibition Center as a festive center to distribute toys. On Wednesday, you can help families find gifts for their children as an “elf” personal shopper. On Thursday, you can help clean the Center and return it to its original state. To learn more about volunteering, email

The Bread of Life Mission needs volunteers to help serve breakfast (8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.) and dinner (6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) on Christmas Eve and dinner from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Christmas Day. The Mission is at 97 S. Main Street. You can find more information and an online volunteer form here.

Sophia Way needs volunteers who can bring donated gifts for their families to its clients at their homes from December 19 to December 24. Sophia Way is dedicated to ending homelessness for women in King County and offers both shelter and housing case management. If you want to help, pick up the gifts at the Sophia Way office at 700 108th Ave NE in downtown Bellevue and deliver them to clients who live on the Eastside.

At any KeyBank location, you can donate new hats, gloves, scarves, and socks (cash is also welcome). KeyBank jumpstarted the campaign with a $10,000.00 donation. The items will go to the Salvation Army.

If you can’t spare the time during this busy season for anything else, you can go to the Facebook Blanket Giveaway contest and nominate Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission to win FREE blankets, which the Mission can then give to homeless folks. The contest ends Tuesday, January 3. Click HERE to nominate!

We hope you’ll shop at Eagle Leather for some of your holiday gift-giving, and we also hope that you’ll thrive with the blessings that come from giving your time to help others.

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