Cherish Our Children raises money for Christmas gift giveaways

LA PUSH — Cherish Our Children will raise money for Christmas gift giveaways in La Push and Forks with dinner and auctions tonight.

The holiday-themed evening fundraiser hosted by the Quileute Tribe and the city of Forks will be at the A-Ka-Lat Center, opposite First Beach in La Push. Doors will open and dinner will be served at 5 p.m.

Smoked salmon fettuccine with bread will be $10. Indian tacos will be $7 and spaghetti $3.

Photos with Santa will be offered and artwork and baked goods will be for sale.

The big events are the auctions.

Proceeds from live and silent auctions will go toward buying gifts for children in need in La Push and Forks, said Sharon Penn of La Push, who said she started the event with Forks’ Pat Soderlind 15 years ago.

“We have a lot of families who are low-income. With the mills going out and fishing being bad, families don’t have a lot to spend on their kids for Christmas,” Penn said.

Later this month, the Quileute Tribe will host its giveaway in La Push. Parents pick out gifts for their children and put them under the Christmas tree at their homes, Penn said.

“It looks like it’s coming from the parents, and that’s what we want,” she said.

Forks also will conduct a giveaway.

Live and silent auctions will be conducted all evening.

“Donations for the auctions have been coming in for over a month,” Penn said.

“OCC [Olympic Corrections Center] brings in fabulous things to auction off.”

Each of the 18 artists who will have tables set up with their goods are donating one item from their table for the auction, Penn said.

Attorneys who work with the tribe always “kick in a tremendous amount,” she added.

Other donations come in the way of food or assistance.

Rick Reeves of the In Place in Forks is donating the fettuccine, while Pat McCall of the Lonesome Creek Store in La Push donated 30 pounds of hamburger for the tacos, Penn said.

Students from the Quillayute Valley School District and the Quileute Tribal School will set up tables. Students will act as elves for the evening.

Books from United Way will be handed out to children.

“What’s really nice with our children, ours will bring them back and exchange them for another book, so we keep them reading,” Penn said.

Last year, the event raised a record-breaking amount — more than $23,000, Penn said.

“Everybody pitches in,” Penn said, “entities at the tribe, businesses in Forks.

“It’s a real community effort. We all get together and just enjoy ourselves.”

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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