FORKS — The annual Cherish Our Children, an auction to raise money to provide young people with Christmas gifts, is moving this year.
For the past 16 years, the event has been at the Akalat Center in La Push. However, on Nov. 30 it will be at the Elks Lodge in Forks at 941 Merchants Road.
The Forks Elks Club has donated the use of its facility.
“We are so grateful for the generous donation of the use of the Elks Lodge,” said Emily Foster, committee chair.
“It will be a perfect location with the parking and event setup.”
Since 2002, volunteers from La Push and Forks have sponsored the Cherish Our Children auction to raise money for Christmas gifts for both communities’ youth.
“We wanted it to truly be a cooperative event between both communities.,” Foster said.
“Our hopes are that new faces will be in the crowd on Nov. 30 [a Friday evening] as well as join us on the planning committee.”
The Forks location this year will help to demonstrate that this event serves both communities, she said. It also will afford an opportunity for new participation by those who may have found the La Push locality less convenient.
The vision of the committee is to alternate Forks and La Push venues each year.
In the past, the donations have been processed through the Quileute Housing Authority, but this year Cherish Our Children is applying to become a separate 501(c)(3) status organization.
Although this is still in the process, donations are tax-deductible through QHA until the new corporate status is final.
While the event has been hosted by the Quileute Tribe until this year, it is a joint effort. In more recent years, volunteers from the Quileute Human Services Department have done the shopping and gift-giving day for Native American children, while volunteers from the Forks Abuse Program handled the shopping and gifts for Forks youth.
In 2017, 600 children in Forks and La Push received gifts because of the funds raised at Cherish Our Children. The committee does not ask for income verification or records of any kind. The hope is that everyone is honest when they say they are in need.
The committee also wants to acknowledge the services of some long-standing members who retired after 2017’s event: Sandy Heinrich and Babs Johnson.
“We want to especially recognize one of its founding members, the late Sharon Penn, for her unwavering dedication and foresight, working tirelessly to ensure youth of Forks and La Push received Christmas joy year after year,” Foster said.
The committee is gearing up to solicit donations. Request letters have been sent to businesses.
To donate or to join the planning committee for this event, contact Foster at 360-640-9600 or [email protected]