Giving without digging into wallet

  • Kristi O’Harran / Herald Columnist
  • Thursday, December 13, 2001 9:00pm
  • Local News

We always let readers know how to donate to various agencies each holiday season. On Nov. 25, we published a huge wish list from groups, called Ways to Give.

Many folks donated whatever they could spare to Sept. 11 terrorist victims. That was wonderful, but many local organizations have empty coffers. That poses a problem for those who want to make donations, but have been hit hard by tough financial times this year.

There was a wonderful project at Edmonds Community College in the English department that should give ideas to anyone with no money to spare. Hayden Nichols’ English 205 class was required to design and implement a service project that met a community need.

There was a twist. Students only had six weeks to make a difference, and it couldn’t cost more than $5 out of their own pockets. That was probably good news for stereotypically strapped college students. The results were delightful.

Here is what some of the students accomplished:

  • Adam Revoir gathered six carts of groceries, plus cash, for the Lynnwood Food Bank. It cost him $1. Revoir contacted the food bank to see what items were really needed for the holidays. He got permission to set up a poster and hand out flyers in front of Albertson’s in Mountlake Terrace and began soliciting donations for items on the list. He sat at the table for two Saturday afternoons to make the haul.

    "I didn’t expect to get so much food," Revoir said. "It wouldn’t all fit in my car, so I had to call in reinforcements."

  • Zeynep Yurderi of Lynnwood gave a $750 donation to the Mary Kay Ash Foundation. She came close to the $5 limit by spending $4.90. Yurderi used to be a Mary Kay saleswoman but recently put that business aside because of her new job and demanding school schedule. She still had unsold merchandise, so she decided to work on selling it and donating profits to the foundation. She sold almost $800 worth and recruited two other sales folks to donate a portion of their sales. Together, their total was almost $1,500, of which about half is profit that they’ll donate to support cancer research and assistance for victims of domestic abuse.

    "The best part of the project was the support I got from my former customers and people that I know," she said.

  • Andrea Talley of Everett and Melissa Dewey of Monroe served dinner to 40 men at St. Paul’s Shelter in Seattle. They spent $2.50. The women worked together to collect money, about $105, and food for the dinner they prepared for the residents of the shelter, run by Compass Center. Talley and Dewey recruited three friends and family members and prepared taco meals.

    They said they had so much fun, they’re planning to go back.

  • Jatra Phounsanoy raised $106 for athletic equipment for a youth center. The thrifty Phounsanoy spent no money of his own.

    Get this — Phounsanoy threw a party at his house and charged his friends $2 to get in. They raised $106, which he used to buy sports equipment for the youth center. He donated two basketballs, two volleyballs, some pingpong paddles and some basketball nets to support programs to keep kids off the streets.

  • Maria Chancco collected necessities for children with HIV at the Children’s Hospital in Lima, Peru. She spent $3. Chancco, from Peru, gathered a bag and a half of toothbrushes, toys and diapers for the hospital. She visited the hospital in Lima a year and a half ago and saw the particularly difficult conditions in which the children with HIV were living. Chancco won’t go back to Lima until April, but she has a friend who’s going this month and will pack supplies.

    "I started thinking about this project in June of 2000, but now I’m committed to working on it for the rest of my life," Chancco said.

    Don’t let having no money stop you from making a difference in your community. For those with deep pockets, please refer to our Nov. 25 Ways to Give column for donating ideas or watch for my column Dec. 21 that will feature letters to Santa from foster children. I’ll include a dropoff spot where you can take last-minute gifts for deserving children.

    Kristi O’Harran’s column appears Tuesdays and Fridays. If you have an idea for her, call 425-339-3451 or e-mail

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