Christmas House gets ready for shoppers EVERETT - For the past week, a group of volunteers have been working in steadfast fashion to ensure low-income families have presents for Christmas.
“We want it to be a joyous Christmas morning for the kids,” Christmas House president Rick Kvangnes said.
Christmas House collects new toys for low-income families in Snohomish County and distributes them starting Saturday, Dec. 1.
Last year, Christmas House provided 10,518 children from 3,630 families with more than 60,000 gifts. The nonprofit started out of a man’s garage in 1981 and helped a small number of families.
Families brave near-freezing temperatures the night before Christmas House opens standing in line so they can get first pick from thousands of toys.
Christmas House gets many of its toys through community donations and buys other toys with donated money. The Sharing Wheels community bike shop in Everett is contributing 100 refurbished bikes to the nonprofit.
“Even though it’s a refurbished bicycle, I’m sure the children will enjoy it just as much,” Kvangnes said.
Christmas House is open Dec. 1, Dec. 4-8, Dec. 11-15 and Dec 17-18 and is located at the Everett Boys & Girls Club, 2316 12th St. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 1:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Parents get to select a stocking stuffer, a small toy, a large toy, a clothing item and a clothing accessory, such as a hat, for each of their children as part of a shopping trip.
Christmas House has a few rules, but volunteers are most strict about not allowing any children in the building. The reason is because the parents are supposed to surprise their children with the gifts they picked out.
To shop, you must be a Snohomish County resident earning 150 percent below the federal poverty line, which for a family of three means earning less than $28,635 a year, or about $550 a week. You must bring photo ID, proof you are the legal custodian of every child you are shopping for and proof of your income.
To read more about the rules or to learn how to donate, visit Christmas House online at www.christmas-house.org. To call Christmas House with questions, call 425-339-5141 starting Dec. 1.
Christmas House accepts new, unwrapped donations through Tuesday, Dec. 18 at its home base at the Everett Boys & Girls Club, 2316 12th St. There also are 82 barrels for people to donate new toys to Christmas House throughout Snohomish County.
Christmas House lost its free warehouse space last year and has sought new space ever since. This year’s gifts ended up being stored in a board member’s barn and at people’s homes.
The space needed is about 3,000 to 5,000 square feet and must be available from Christmas through December 2013. E-mail Kvangnes at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help with space.
The Snohomish Health District is hosting a free whooping cough vaccination clinic less than a block away from Christmas House. The free vaccination clinics are open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 at Hawthorne Elementary School, 1110 Poplar St.