Day of giving receives outpouring of support

Event: Nonprofits at #GivingTuesday collect more than $1,500, receive other donations, supplies

Special to the HeraldDecember 11, 2013 

Puyallup’s #GivingTuesday event, stationed at the Washington State Fairgrounds Gold Lot, started out at a crisp 35 degrees with biting winds and a clear sky.

But the nonprofits’ representatives kept things warm with beverages from Anthem Coffee and Tea and Fisher scones for anyone who stopped by to donate on Dec. 3.

Many people showed up 30 minutes prior to the 10:30 a.m. start, and they helped the groups collect more than $1,500, along with clothes, blankets and cleaning supplies.

The Puyallup Food Bank received three palettes of food from one of its trucking companies. By the end of the day, the back of the Puyallup Food Bank’s truck was filled.

“There were at least 50 large garbage bags, and then there were several dozen boxes,” said Janel Tobar, director of development and marketing at St. Francis House.

“We had expected more food and toys but ended up with more clothes and blankets,” said Cyndi Anderson, director of fund development at Cascade Regional Blood Services.

Cleaning supplies and toiletries are a few of things you can’t purchase with state assistance, Anderson said. Both were identified needs, specifically for Helping Hand House and Exodus Housing.

“People were reading what we were saying,” Anderson said. “They brought exactly what we identified as the needs were for these organizations.”

Scott Christensen, a senior minister at Puyallup’s Renovo Church, brought toys, a jacket and some food to donate. He received an email regarding #GivingTuesday from the One Another Foundation, with which he stays in contact.

The church helps those in need through organizations such as World Vision, which make it possible to donate clean water and livestock that will help families in poverty, Anderson said.

The #GivingTuesday movement resulted in a large increase in volunteer interest for the nonprofits, with 15 for Helping Hand House.

Puyallup Mayor Rick Hansen and state Rep. Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, both supported the event. Several businesses showed interest and have contacted the nonprofits to construct plans for next year.

The first year is meant to be an educational year about the movement, said Beth Brooks, the Washington State Fair Foundation’s manager of fund development.

“People are taking a chance to make this a big day,” Brooks said. “It’s gaining momentum.”

Next year, both the Cascade Regional Blood Services and the Washington State Fair Foundation plan to add interactive experiences for #GivingTuesday. Cascade will bring its blood drive resources for those who wish to donate on site.

The Washington State Fair Foundation will bring its Traveling Farm, an experience Brooks described as a “museum on wheels” that teaches children about sustainability. The Traveling Farm includes live animals and is free for schools.

The nonprofits also plan to turn up their social-media efforts for next year’s #GivingTuesday.

“Social media is our friend,” said Shanna Peterson, director of operations for the Puyallup Food Bank. “We get much more off the Facebook page than on our site because it’s responded back to immediately. When the community knows about something, they come out.”

Elsy Pawelak is a freelance reporter for the Herald.

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