Sea Mar party spreads holiday cheer to Whatcom County kids


Children at Sea MarÕs Whatcom County Christmas Party

Children at Sea Mar's Whatcom County Christmas Party enjoyed the arts and crafts table, and the volunteers had fun, too. According to event organizers, roughly 500 children up to age 12 received three age-appropriate gifts at the event, held Saturday, Dec. 21, at Whatcom Community College.


Sea Mar spread holiday cheer Dec. 21 for almost 200 low-income families, including 400-plus children, at the health agency's invitation-only holiday event. Here's what the press release said:

"For more than 20 years Sea Mar Community Health Centers has hosted Christmas parties in several western Washington counties where the organization's medical, dental, behavioral health, social, and educational services are offered.

"The party includes gifts for each child through age 12, children's crafts, entertainment, photos with Santa, many generous raffle prizes, and a dessert bar.

"In total, more than 3,000 children will be served at Sea Mar Christmas parties held in seven counties in Western Washington, including Clark, Whatcom, Snohomish, King, Pierce, Grays Harbor, Thurston. In addition, Sea Mar in Skagit County partners in a county-wide effort that serves nearly 2,000 low-income families and 5,000-plus children.

"At Sea Mar-sponsored parties, more than 10,000 toys will be distributed, thanks to local donors and proceeds from the organization's annual golf tournaments.

"Sea Mar wishes to acknowledge and thank the following donors to the 2013 annual Christmas Party: Starbucks, The Bagelry, Jalapeños, Barb's Pies, Johnny's Donuts, Pure Bliss, Safeway, Walmart, Ross, WECU, Silver Reef, Chrysalis, Mt. Baker Theatre, Haggen Food and Pharmacy, Cash-n-Carry, Gift of Dance, Cruisin Coffee, Kulshan Brewery, Les Schwab, Asian One, Olive Garden, Costco."


Turkeys for 240 local families were distributed for holiday dinners as the result of a drive led by Snapper Shuler Kenner Insurance. Here's their press release:

"SSK Insurance, with offices in Lynden and Bellingham, offered for the second consecutive year to match donations of up to 100 turkeys (valued at $15 apiece). The drive exceeded that goal and 240 turkeys are being distributed to families in need by Bellingham Food Bank and Lynden-based Project Hope.

" 'Since half of local food-bank recipients are children or senior citizens, we know that many of our most vulnerable neighbors could use some help,' said Bob Hagedorn of SSK Insurance."


Brian Covey reports Natural Way Chiropractic ran its 19th annual toy drive for the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program on Dec. 7 and raised an estimated $15,000 in toys among its four offices in Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden and Mount Vernon. Patients who donated toys to the program received free adjustments, massages and exams in exchange for gifts for needy children in Whatcom and Skagit counties.


Opportunity Council and Fiamma Burger employees raised more than $300 for Maple Alley Inn at a special Fiamma Burger breakfast preview Dec. 3, according to a press release:

"Maple Alley Inn serves breakfast at St. Paul's Episcopal Church Old Parish Hall on Walnut Street on Tuesdays, and hot lunches at Faith Lutheran Church on McLeod Road on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

"The fundraising event was built around a test run for Fiamma Burger's new breakfast menu.

"Fiamma Burger is now serving breakfast to downtown Bellingham from 6:59 a.m. until 11:01 a.m. daily. Specializing in breakfast egg sandwiches and hash browns, downtown diners can pick between eating in or taking their morning meals to go."


A press release says four local authors have come together in collaboration on an international book that attained two best-seller rankings. "The Missing Piece: An Inspirational Journey," featuring personal accounts of hardship followed by a silver lining, was released Dec. 7 on Amazon and hit the Top 100 Best Seller rankings in three categories before reaching the top spot in two of those categories.

Each of the four local authors was invited to join 23 others to write a chapter for the book, which was compiled by Kate Gardner in England. Stacy Roorda of Lynden wrote about being pregnant with cancer, Mary Jo Gran of Bellingham focused on losing her son Jim in a kayak on Bellingham Bay in 2001, Lori Kay Blake-Leighton of Ferndale shared her experience in a violent domestic relationship as a young adult and Lynda Cheldelin Fell of Ferndale wrote about losing her daughter Aly in a car crash in 2009.

Autographed books will be available for purchase at local book signings, including Friday, Jan. 3, at the Chihuahua Mexican Restaurant, 5694 Third Ave. in Ferndale, and Saturday, Feb. 15, at Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa.

Out and About is published Mondays in The Bellingham Herald.

Reach Executive Editor Julie Shirley at or call 715-2261.

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