Reader view: A generous community comes forward

Santa Jim Welsh and Elf Steve Tholl delivering gifts.

Every Christmas, the Rotary Club of Edmonds manages four gift-giving trees to support the Snohomish County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates for Children) and the Volunteer Guardian ad Litem (VGAL) program. This long-standing Rotary project allows CASA advocates the ability to provide gifts from generous donors for infants, children or teens who are victims of alleged sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect.

Mittens are created identifying child’s age and sex, with gift requests placed at three tree locations: Harbor Square Athletic Club (HSAC) and Gallaghers’ Where-U-Brew (GB) in Edmonds and Crucible Brewery (CB) of Everett. This year, we had a herculean request of 352 mittens or an increase of 21% from last year! Miraculously, we fulfilled all requests.

A huge thanks goes to Mr. Jack Tawney and the staff and members of HSAC who every year maintain the main tree with about 250-plus mittens. We also wish to thank Chris Dufore and Jesse LaCasse and their crew and patrons of GB; Dick Mergens and Shawn Dowling and their crew and patrons of CB in Everett; and our Rotarians (noon club). And we all wish to thank Ms. Lorraine Meitzer of Everett, who donated $2,300 and we will use leftover funds for our Literacy Project developed last year because of our surplus CASA money.

The generosity of everyone’s contributions was overwhelming to those that work this program; we cannot express how much joy and love filled our hearts while we processed these gifts. Special thanks to Santa Jim, who made over a dozen “sleigh” runs and then Santa Tom and Elf Joelle, who help with the pickup at Crucible Brewery, who also doubled their mitten requests this year!

We are sure that those 352 gifts for infants, toddlers and teens will generate glee on their faces and warmth in their hearts on Christmas Day. Everyone should feel delight in their hearts as once again, we had another successful year of giving.

Should you wish to donate to this cause, please contact us at Rotary and donate (specify for CASA). For more information about CASA, visit

Funds that were spent will be used for our new Literacy Project, which is a partnership with CASA, Rotary and Edmonds Bookshop. Over 200 books were purchased in 2021 so volunteers can read to children and then leave the book with the child. You can find more details here.

Happy Holidays.

— By Diane Buckshnis (on behalf of Santa Jim and Tom and Elves Diane, Zach, Joelle, Steve and all CASA volunteers that processed all those gifts.)

Diane Buckshnis lives in Edmonds. 

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