By Marianne Lincoln
PARKLAND, WA — The line outside was long, luckily it was above freezing Saturday morning and there was no rain. Volunteers in red shirts were scurrying everywhere, carrying trays with cups of orange juice and baskets with sausage and scrambled eggs or fresh pastries for those waiting. Moms, dads and lots of children were anxious to see what was inside as they stood under the row of tents set up for them to wait under. This was Winterfest 2013.
I followed the food servers inside to the kitchen where there were half a dozen people scurrying around making breakfast treats and filling trays. In the next room there were almost thirty people wrapping presents on several rows of tables.
Down the hallway, families were being allowed to enter a few at a time so the building would not be overwhelmed. The families all had invitations from local social services who identified them as in need of assistance to make their holidays more merry. There were tables of toys lining the walls. The parents could choose which to have wrapped for their children. The choices were numbered and they could pick them up later. Up the stairs, they passed through a hallways filled with winter coats from which they could select a good fit.
Next was a check in point and on to the gymnasium where the children could make crafts, get balloon animals, swords or hats, choose from an assortment of children’s books, get warm hats and gloves, sit with Santa, learn how to brush their teeth, get school supplies, coloring pens and other supplies, have their face painted or choose from a wide assortment of clothing up on the stage. “Dr. Cleo”the lion from Molina Health Care was walking around posing with kids. Rumor has it that was a dentist from the Linquist Children’s Dental Center.
Above the gym in the bleachers, kids were reading books to each other, sword fighting with their balloon swords and watching their family below. There I met an honor student from Keithly Middle School who also loves sports. Keep up the great school work Ed! Along the way, the balloon ladies attached a brown balloon monkey neck scarf. He stayed there while I grocery shopped as well and got quite a few comments.
From the Pacific Lutheran University website, this is the 24th annual Winterfest. It is designed to “provide the joy and spirit of Christmas to 500 low income families who are experiencing economic despair in our community.” many local organizations participate to make this annual event a success. They did a marvelous job again this year.