Sunday, June 25, 2017 This Week's Paper

Arts & Entertainment: Friends of the Holidays

// Fundraiser will provide Christmas meals to needy families

Friends of the Holidays exists to make Christmas a happy time for people in need. This is the 14th year the organization has been assisting families with food at Christmas. There are two fundraising events each year, both held at the Swiss Pub. One occurs during the summer and the other in early December. That second fundraiser will occur on Dec. 2 from 2-10 p.m. Jon Sybert, president and founder of Friends of the Holidays, is looking forward to the auction and raffle. Among the items that have been donated this time are women’s jewelry, pottery, paintings, hand-blown glass items made by Jeau Bishop of Shelton and a Seattle Seahawks jersey autographed by Steve Largent Raffle items include coffee cards from Starbucks, gift certificates for local restaurants and salons, massages, movie passes from Blue Mouse Theatre, bracelets and a basket of office supplies from Chuckals Office Products. Entertainment will be provided by a number of musical groups. Mark Riley Trio will start things off at 2 p.m. They will be followed by Tahoma Souls Alive at 3:05 p.m., Junkyard Jane at 4:10 p.m., Gin Creek at 5:15 p.m., T-Town Aces at 6:20 p.m. and Fingertips at 7:25 p.m. Wrapping things up will be Billy Farmer presenting a Rolling Stones tribute at 8:30 p.m. “We have a real good lineup of music,” Sybert remarked. The proceeds from the event will be spent on food. Top Foods sells the organization canned food at a discounted price, while Saar’s Marketplace in Lakewood does the same for produce and rolls. On Dec. 20, the food is brought to Chuckals Office Products, which provides a space to assemble the gift boxes. The deliveries are made the following day. They are made to schools on Hilltop, a Head Start facility on Hilltop, a Tacoma Rescue Mission housing project on Cedar Street and a Catholic Community Services facility on South 72nd Street. Sybert says many of these places have been recipients from the beginning. “I am always looking for new schools or community centers that need help,” he remarked. Last year, meals were provided to 450 families. The organization has a goal to feed that same number again this year. Friends of the Holidays used to include toys for children, but dropped that several years ago to focus on food. “The parents thought it was more important to have food on the table than to have toys,” Sybert observed. “We can feed more families this way.”