Christmas gifts for kids in need, thanks to Holly House

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    Nearly 2,300 kids in the Edmonds School District will have a brighter Christmas this year, thanks to a 10-year tradition known as Holly House.

    On Sunday, Holly House volunteers gathered at a Lynnwood church to help parents from the district’s highest-poverty schools pick out new toys, books, warm hats and scarves, pajamas, Christmas stockings, stuffed animals and blankets, to be placed under the tree for their children.

    The non-profit Holly House, led by Executive Director Pam Martinez, served 260 children in its first year; this year, 2,286 children will benefit. Holly House volunteers collect donations year-round from individuals and businesses to be distributed during the holiday event.

    This year also marked the first year that Holly House collected donations specifically for students attending a school district alternative high school.

    One of the volunteers, Maria Skelton-Grover of Edmonds, came through Holly House as a parent in need five years ago and has since returned as a volunteer year after year, helping Martinez with a variety of logistics. This year Skelton-Grover oversaw the distribution of books.

    “She (Martinez) was helping me when I was in need and I wanted to come back and help others,” Skelton-Grover said.

    — Story and photos by Teresa Wippel

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