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Hopelink celebrates 35th year

Hopelink, the largest social services agency serving east and north King County, is celebrating 35 years of service in 2006. With 40-plus programs designed to help low-income and homeless families and senior citizens achieve or maintain self-sufficiency, the agency touches more than 50,000 lives every year.

From food banks and transportation services, to child development centers for at-risk children, to literacy skills training and transitional and emergency housing, Hopelink works hard to give its neighbors in east and north King County the means to transform their lives, enabling them to transition from vulnerability and crisis to independence and stability.

Hopelink started in 1971 as a grassroots job referral program to assist laid-off Boeing employees. Local churches joined in with food donations. In 1977, the agency added transportation services for the low-income, disabled and elderly. Hopelink's housing program began with one emergency shelter in 1984. It now has six service centers (Shoreline, Bothell, Sno-Valley, Kirkland, Bellevue and Redmond), 84 units of housing that it owns or manages, and two accredited child development centers.

In November, Hopelink hosts two important fundraising events, as well as a special holiday opportunity for the community to help less-fortunate neighbors. These events include:

"Reaching Out, Rebuilding Dreams" annual benefit luncheon: Hopelink's 11th annual benefit luncheon will be Wednesday, Nov. 8, at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue. Anna Quindlen, best-selling author, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and social commentator, will serve as keynote speaker. Quindlen's speech is sure to be thought-provoking and inspiring, and address the social issues pertinent to Hopelink's mission. There is no charge to attend the luncheon. To be a table captain, reserve a seat at the luncheon or be an event sponsor, contact Brenda Tincher at 425-883-8430 or brendat@hope-link.org.

Turkey Trot fun walk: Individuals, families and teams are invited to join Hopelink's sixth annual Turkey Trot fun walk in Kirkland on Sunday, Nov. 19. Last year, proceeds from Turkey Trot helped Hopelink to distribute food for holiday meals to more than 2,300 families. The three-mile walk begins in downtown Kirkland. Participants receive a Hopelink Turkey Trot T-shirt and, in what has become a popular tradition, are awarded prizes for the most creative costumes. One year, an entire Girl Scout troop dressed in Thanksgiving-themed attire. Food donation barrels will be on hand to collect non-perishable foods.

The entrance fee is $20 for individuals and $15 per person for teams of four or more. Strollers and pets are free. Pledges are encouraged and pledges of $100 per participant will be entered in a raffle for prizes. Turkey Trot registration and personal online fundraising pages are available online at www.hope-link.org/turkeytrot. More information is available by emailing hopelink@hope-link.org or by calling 425-869-6000.

Holiday Food and Gift Drive: As the holidays approach, Hopelink will be asking for donations of food, new toys and clothing, to be distributed in December through its six food bank locations. In 2005, Hopelink provided holiday gifts to 5,100 low-income children, and expects the demand to grow for this holiday season. Please visit www.hope-link.org for more information.

Hopelink is one of four Puget Sound organizations featured in ParentMap's 2006 Giving Together campaign, which supports and promotes agencies that are striving to improve the lives of families in our community. Other Giving Together partners include the Foundation for Early Learning, PEPS and Great Starts.

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