Each year, AWB hosts the Holiday Kids’ Tree Lighting Ceremony, which culminates our project with the presentation of donations to those rural fire districts who in turn distribute the funds/toys/food to deserving families during the Christmas season. The fire district counties receiving the funds are Chelan, Grant, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Okanagan, Spokane, Thurston and Walla Walla. Please join us for the public tree lighting ceremony sponsored by AWB on Friday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. at the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia where it has become a tradition for the governor, fire departments, families and citizens to witness this festive event. Military stuffed bears will be adorning the tree to honor our military!
Our mission is to provide gifts/toys and food to families in need during the holiday season in the Washington state rural and small town areas where there is no access to donation facilities. The Holiday Kids' Tree Project started in 1989. Since then, AWB has coordinated thousands of gifts and more than $407,000 in cash donations from individuals and organizations each winter holiday season. The donations are then distributed to families in need by fire departments in rural counties in both eastern and western Washington. This fills a great need for families in rural areas who do not have access to large city donation sites. For some children, these are the only gifts they receive during the holiday season.
Program Goals: This project desires to reach children in need in rural areas as well as
general family needs. We solicit funds from our members and welcome any contributions from the general public. We have many citizens who have donated to this project for many years. Each year our goal is to raise funds to provide $1,000.00 each to the 18 rural fire departments in Washington state, as well as funds to purchase toys for the families in need and the items donated to the children’s hospital. AWB provides stuffed dolls or animals, along with other decorations, to decorate the tree in the State Rotunda. When the tree is taken down, the stuffed dolls or animals along with a book, are donated to an area Children's Hospital.
Program Distinctions: Because we host the state tree lighting ceremony each year, our project has become very well-known and well-received by many citizens. Each year, the media covers our event and gives attention to the funds provided for the rural area fire departments to distribute. The chosen fire departments attend the event and receive their checks and toys. Our tree lighter involves a military family chosen by the Secretary of State’s office, as well as the governor presents the gifts to the fire departments.
Communication/advertisement of funds: Each year we publicize the names of our contributors and the total amount raised on our website, at the tree lighting ceremony, and in a letter to our contributors.
For more information, contact AWB’s Bonnie Millikan at 360.943.1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.