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COUNTDOWN: 4 weeks until Polar Plunge ‘winter beach party’ at Alki for Special Olympics Washington

(WSB photo from February 2020 Polar Plunge at Alki)

Outdoor events are few and far between in the heart of winter – but here’s an exception: We’re now four weeks away from the return of the Polar Plunge “winter beach party” to Alki, benefiting Special Olympics Washington. Here’s how organizers explain it:

The Special Olympics Washington Polar Plunge, on Saturday, February 25, is a Seattle tradition. The annual event brings together supporters throughout the area to Get Cold for a Cause. The 2023 installment of this Winter Beach Party is expanding to offer something for everyone. Partygoers can show up to plunge or participate in the festivities and cheer others on.

Attendees can expect a full-on beach party with live music, beach games, a beer garden, food trucks, costume contests, and great prizes along the way! Individual and team registrants are encouraged to raise donations in support of Special Olympics Washington athletes. As they raise funds, they can also earn prizes including airline vouchers and Papa John’s gift cards for the top individual and team fundraisers.

The Polar Plunge campaign kicks off the year strong by raising funds that directly go to providing athletes with year-round opportunities to train and compete, as well as receive free health screenings and leadership training. Proceeds from the event ensure that over 7,500 Washington children and adults with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities have the opportunity to participate at no cost to them.

On Saturday, February 25, festivities kick off at 8:00 a.m. at Alki Beach & Bathhouse [60th SW & Alki Avenue SW]. The costume contest will begin at 12:10 p.m., with winners awarded based on crowd response. Polar plunging starts at 1:00 p.m.!

Unlike the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim, this isn’t an en-masse jump-in-run-out event – but immersing yourself in Puget Sound is part of it. Individual and team registration starts here.

MUSIC: Endolyne Children’s Choir board hopes to find people who’ll hit the right note for two key openings

You’ve probably seen the Endolyne Children’s Choir over the years at a West Seattle Junction Christmas Tree Lighting performance – but that’s just one of many ways in which this organization enriches the community. Now they’re looking for new support, with openings on the board. Here’s the announcement sent to us to share with you:

If you’re looking to give back to the community and add board-member experience to your resume, Endolyne Children’s Choir (ECC) wants to talk to you! ECC teaches the joy of singing in a community setting that fosters self-confidence, teamwork, and a lifelong appreciation for music.

Making this happen for thousands of kids over the last 20 years takes a village, and a vital part of our village is our board of directors. The leaders who serve on our board have a front-row seat to watch these kids connect with, inspire, and uplift the greater community, while developing lifelong appreciation for music and the arts.

Here’s what a few long-term board members had to say about why they serve:

“Creating community among our singers and their families. It’s such a joy to build relationships, to bring people together, and to watch our singers grow and mature both as choral musicians and as humans over the years.”

“I get to work with dedicated board members and staff to provide a caring and fun space and wonderful opportunities for our young singers to grow as individuals.”

“The fun and collaborative environment! Being able to share my enthusiasm for children’s choral singing/music education by brainstorming new and creative ideas with an amazing group of dedicated volunteers!”

Interested in using your accounting or fundraising expertise and leadership to make a difference in your community? ECC is actively recruiting for a Treasurer and Fundraising Chair, so reach out to us at

GRATITUDE: Friends of West Seattle Elementary’s first progress report

(Photo courtesy Friends of West Seattle Elementary)

In the photo above are student leaders with a “fundraising thermometer” they’re using to track progress for Friends of West Seattle Elementary‘s first fundraiser. We told you two months ago about the launch of FOWSE, the school’s new Parent Teacher Organization, and tonight we have an update:

As of today, we have raised $4,225 (8.5% of our goal) — WOW! We are so grateful for the support we’ve received so far, but we have more fundraising to do! Our goal is to raise $50,000 by March 1st and won’t be able to do so without the support of community members and business.

If you are able, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to support West Seattle Elementary students and staff. Any contribution helps ensure students, regardless of race, background, socioeconomic status, receive the best education possible.
You can make a donation online via this link.

Community members interested in getting involved with FOWSE are welcome to contact the group at

YOU CAN HELP: Buy the basics for Chief Sealth International High School students

It’s difficult to focus on your studies if you have basic needs that aren’t being met. For students in need at Chief Sealth International High School, a small fund can help cover some things. But the fund itself needs a boost, according to this request we were asked to share with you:

Please consider donating to the CSIHS InvestED fundraising campaign. These funds are used to help our students that are struggling to fund the basic needs for a successful high school experience. Our fund is running significantly lower than last year where we were able to serve 130+ students with this fund.

There are a range of basic needs that students have at Chief Sealth International High School. Currently, many students have been requesting basic items such as backpacks, pencils, bedding, emergency gear, socks, underwear, and jackets. There have also been requests for many seniors who cannot afford their cap and gowns, dance tickets, yearbooks, and more. Not to mention athletes who wish to participate in sports related activities. This includes fees for art class, ASB stickers, funds for IB tests, certain textbooks and books required for classes and not available at school, etc.

Your donation will go directly into the InvestED Fund at Chief Sealth International High School to help the students in need there. Simply designate your donation to Chief Sealth High School from the drop-down list on the donation page. Anything helps… Donate here!

LAST CALL! Final week for warm-clothing donations @ Dave Newman State Farm Agency

Ollie the pup is awaiting one last wave of donations for the warm-clothing drive at Dave Newman State Farm Agency (WSB sponsor), on behalf of the West Seattle Clothesline/West Seattle Food Bank. Here’s the reminder:

The West Seattle Clothesline annual clothing drive is once again coming to a close. Last day to drop of donations is Friday the 27th. We would like to give heartfelt thanks to fellow citizens who made it possible by their generosity and giving nature.

The clothing drive at Dave Newman State Farm Agency happens every year in December and January. Watch for the clothing drive at the end of this year!

The office is at 3435 California SW – you can stop in any day this week between 9 am and 5 pm.

YOU CAN HELP: Want to be a Seattle Urban Nature Guide?

Earlier this week, we noted that recruiting is happening now for Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists. Another volunteer education program is looking for more people, too – they asked us to share this announcement for anyone interested in becoming a Seattle Urban Nature (SUN) Guide:

Looking for a great way to volunteer in your community? Are you passionate about nature and the environment? Seattle Parks and Recreation has a wonderful opportunity for you to engage with fellow community members and share your passions and enthusiasm. Becoming a SUN Guide involves taking a 6-week training course as well as a program observation period, at which point you will become a valued Volunteer Naturalist. Come explore with us as we visit several different parks around Seattle, learning how to interpret nature in a powerful and meaningful way.

Find out more about what SUN Guides do here; take the next step here.

KIDS FOR KIDS: West Seattle publisher inviting young writers and artists to contribute to zine supporting Ukrainians

Lauren Grosskopf of Pleasure Boat Studio is publishing another zine with work by young creators – and she’s calling for submissions. The next “Kids For Kids” zine is intended as both a fundraiser and morale boost for Ukrainians living through the war. She welcomes art, poetry, and comics from 3- to 18-year-olds. The zine will be made available as a free PDF, with printed copies for $25 to raise money for three nonprofits. You can go here to find out more, including how young artists and writers can contribute (free), and how you can support the effort. Last year, Pleasure Boat Studio published a 100-page zine with creations by kids and teens.

HELPING: Community cleanup in West Seattle today, and plans for one Sunday

Two volunteer cleanups in West Seattle this weekend – first, the one that happened today:

UNDER THE BRIDGE: Erik Bell from A Cleaner Alki sent photos from the cleanup on which his group and We Heart Seattle teamed up, beneath the Admiral Way approach to the West Seattle Bridge: “This is what you’ve been driving over when you come off Admiral Way to get on the Bridge. It’s looking much better now.” Before and after examples:

Erik’s group has frequent cleanups around the peninsula – find them at Meantime, another group has an event planned Sunday:

SEATTLE STREET FIXERS: A few weeks ago, we showed you what these volunteers did in Gatewood, “revealing” an overgrown sidewalk. They’re tackling another one starting at 1 pm Sunday, in Morgan Junction, in the 6300 block o 41st SW, and more volunteers are welcome. Organizer Conrad explains, “Currently, more than half of the sidewalk on the south side of Fauntleroy, between 41st and the nearest alleyway, is inaccessible due to ivy and an overgrown hedge.” He sent this photo:

Conrad continues, “Given the size of the hedge, any big trimming tools will be useful, as will yard-waste bags, given the large amount of debris this work will generate. This spot is along a busy road so we will need to stay mindful while working.”

YOU CAN HELP: Student-led donation drive collecting pet food (updated)

If you’re shopping for pet food this weekend, consider buying extra for this upcoming donation drive: National Honor Society students at West Seattle High School are hosting a pet food donation drive for Seattle Humane. They will have two dropoff dates – 3 to 5 pm (updated – one date only) January 25th, at the north entrance of WSHS (3000 California SW). Organizers say they’re especially interested in dry or canned cat food, “but we’ll accept it for any pets!”

ALSO TODAY: Pop-up blood drive in Highland Park

Thanks to the reader who just sent word of this – the American Red Cross has a pop-up blood drive at Bethany Community Church in Highland Park this afternoon/evening, 1-6:30 pm. Appointments required (type 98106 in the search box on that page); when we checked, openings were listed between 1:30 and 4:30 pm. The church is at 8600 9th SW; \\

HELPING: Alki Beach Pride launches coat/clothing drive

Help keep others warm for the rest of this winter! Here’s an invitation from Alki Beach Pride:

Do you have gently used teen/adult clothes & coats looking for a new home?

Alki Beach Pride is hosting a Coat & Clothing drive to help a cause that is close to our hearts, We would love the help of our community in donating at one of our many drop off locations.

Huge shout out to the businesses supporting us this year for our first ever coat drive 🌈☺️ We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you, thank you, thank you

• Admiral Theatre
• Arthur’s
• Berkshire Hathaway, Ramone Myers
• Harry’s Beach House
• The Lumber Yard Bar
• Tibbetts United Methodist Church
• Youngstown Coffee

& thank YOU for looking through your closet for a cause – West Seattle is the Best Seattle

The drive continues until January 27th.

FOLLOWUP: Coordinating South Park’s flood recovery

(WSB photos unless otherwise credited)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“We’re an environmental organization, not an emergency organization.”

Despite that observation, Duwamish River Community Coalition executive director Paulina López and staffers from her organization have been on the ground – and, at first, in the water – in the South Park flood zone, continuously, since the river overflowed its banks December 27th.

(Reader photo, December 27th)

We talked with her at the Resource Center, the nerve center of recovery efforts in north South Park at midday Wednesday, where South Chicago Street [map] is lined with trailers and tents – temporary office space, hygiene facilities – and storage pods for residents who had to get belongings out of flooded homes.

We went to South Park to find out more about what sort of help is most needed now, and will be needed in the future.

Our first stop was the Duwamish River Community Hub, in the heart of “downtown” South Park at 14th Avenue South/South Cloverdale, the former pizza joint converted into a community space by the Port of Seattle. Right now it’s serving as a dropoff and storage spot for donations, as well as a place flood victims can go get some of those donated items, like food staples. But food is no longer on the “most needed” list as of today’s update.

Back at the Resource Center, both López and DRCC’s Robin Schwartz told us that some of the larger items will be needed later, when families are either able to move back into their homes or into someplace new. Even finding places for flood victims to stay is a challenge – the city has arranged for lodging through at least January 11th, but these are families who in many cases have jobs and students and who want to stay in or near the South Park area.

DRCC is working to transition some of this assistance over to other community/social-service organizations whose missions better synergize with it – such as Villa Comunitaria and Khmer Community of Seattle King County. What DRCC wants to prioritize for its part, López says, is health and safety. They have been pushing for Public Health – Seattle & King County to come out and survey the homes that flooded to assess whether they’re safe enough to be reoccupied. And she has her eye on the big long-term “systemic” needs of which this situation has been a painful reminder.

Even balancing the recovery work with ongoing life in the neighborhood is a challenge. While we were speaking with López, someone from a nearby business came over to say cars – ostensibly belonging to people involved with the recovery work – were blocking their gate, and she had to go try to spread the word about that. We continued the conversation with Schwartz, who not only is a DRCC staffer, but also a resident of one of the flooded neighborhoods, though she said her home only took in inches of water, compared to others whose basements were swamped by feet of it.

As the recovery operation continues, there’s a looming concern about the next “king tides,” less than three weeks away – the basic prediction is slightly higher than December 27th, but the river may stay within its banks in the absence of atmospheric conditions such as those that intensified last week’s tides, Still, the city – and the residents and businesses – have to be ready. (We’re following up with Seattle Public Utilities to find out about their plans.)

For now, here are ways you can help:
-The aforementioned “current needs” list, updated again today, is here
DRCC’s crowdfunding page THURSDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Financial donations are now directed to three community organizations – the two mentioned above and Cultivate South Park – find direct links on this page
-Two families have GoFundMe pages that were posted in this WSB comment thread

And if you’re offering help, patience is a plus too. Community organizations can get overwhelmed in situations like this, especially in the early going, but the needs will stretch on for weeks and even months, so if you reach out with an offer – maybe you have an appliance you could donate to someone who lost theirs in basement flooding – understand that you may not hear back immediately.

HELPING: What else South Park flood victims need

(Photo sent last Tuesday by Devlin Carey)

The cleanup continues in South Park, where dozens of homes and businesses were flooded by last week’s weather-enhanced king tide. The Duwamish River Community Coalition is coordinating support for the flood victims and – in addition to the fundraising we’ve mentioned before – has developed a list of what’s needed. You can see the list here; the requested items include specific clothing, houseware, and cleanup items, as well as bottles of water and bags of rice. That document also includes specifics on who to contact and where to go if you can help. They’ve also been accepting volunteer help – watch here for shifts to sign up for.

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle’s only emergency weather shelter reopens next week; crowdfunding continues

When Christmas brought an end to subfreezing weather, Keith Hughes finally got a break from round-the-clock operation of West Seattle’s only emergency shelter/warming center. Temperatures are expected to drop again next week, so he’s announced the shelter will reopen Monday at the West Seattle Veteran Center:

We will be back open on Monday morning, Jan 2, 2023 from 7:30 am till 11:00 am, and again at 5:00 pm for a hot meal and overnight every night that the overnight temperature is forecasted to be in the 30s. During the last Cold Weather Emergency, from November 3 thru December 25, we averaged 20 people per night, both men and women, as the only Shelter in the West Seattle/White Center area.

With that, the Keep the Heat On at the Warming Center” crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs will continue. Keith explains:

It takes a lot of help and support to feed, clothe, and house a group this size as a private, all-volunteer, non-profit organization. “Keep the Heat On” literally means being able to pay the gas bill, electric bill, water and sewer bill, insurance, and building maintenance (like cleaning supplies). We can’t do it without your help. Thank you to all who can join us in supporting our local Homeless community.

If you know someone who needs a place to go inside and be warm, the address is 3618 SW Alaska.

SOUTH PARK FLOODING: Here’s how you can help

(Reader photo, South Park on Tuesday)

Our neighbors in South Park are cleaning up flooded homes and businesses along the Duwamish River after Tuesday’s weather-enhanced king tide. Commenters have been discussing how to help and we’re surfacing it here so you can help too. While the city is providing some help, community-based assistance is being coordinated by the Duwamish River Community Coalition, and they have two requests: Money to directly support flood-affected families (you can donate here). DRCC says that so far it’s placed 10 families in hotels and is working with others on specific needs. They’re also asking for volunteer help, too – watch for a link on the DRCC website.

HELPING: Dave Newman Insurance Agency extends warm-clothing drive

December 22, 2022 12:36 pm
|    Comments Off on HELPING: Dave Newman Insurance Agency extends warm-clothing drive
 |   How to help | West Seattle news

(Photo by Chris Frankovich)

With the overnight low in the teens and today’s high not expected to get out of the 20s, bundling up in winter clothing can be a matter of life or death for people who don’t have consistent access to someplace warm. Dave Newman Insurance Agency (WSB sponsor) has been collecting warm-clothing donations – especially coats – throughout the holiday season and has just extended the drive, with this message:

Thank you, West Seattle!

The annual clothing drive is in full swing. It’s been a tough year for donations for the Clothesline and they can use all the help they can get.

There is still plenty of time to donate. Bring your warm coats to 3435 California Ave SW. We’ll continue the clothing drive through the month of January.

Happy Holidays,
Dave Newman Insurance Agency

The office is open 9 am-5 pm most weekdays. The Clothesline is the clothing bank operated by the West Seattle Food Bank

HOLIDAY HELPING: Baking cookies for The Christmas People? Date change

Every holiday season, The Christmas People prepare and serve meals to people in need. To make those meals just a bit sweeter and more festive, they send out a call for people to bake and donate homemade cookies. As mentioned here and in our Holiday Guide, the dropoff spot for your home-baked-cookie contributions this year is West Seattle Coworking‘s south location, 9030 35th SW. But Ross from WSC tells us there’s a change in the dropoff dates from what we were originally given, so we wanted to let you know: Now it’s Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (December 22-24), 9 am-3 pm. Again, homemade cookies only, not store-bought. The Christmas People thank you! (Image from Pixabay)

WEST SEATTLE WEEKEND SCENE: ‘Sidewalk reveal’ in west Gatewood

Some parts of the city don’t have sidewalks – and some parts have sidewalks that are unusable because they’ve been covered in overgrowth. That’s the situation in west Gatewood, near Westside Unitarian, where volunteers calling themselves the Seattle Street Fixers are working right now.

You’re welcome to help – they started at 44th/Othello [map]. You can see some of the other places they’ve cleared by scrolling through here.

HOLIDAY HELPING: PNTA dropoff donation drive for Transitional Resources

December 16, 2022 11:33 am
|    Comments Off on HOLIDAY HELPING: PNTA dropoff donation drive for Transitional Resources
 |   Holidays | How to help | West Seattle news

All season long, we’ve kept a running list of holiday donation drives in our WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide. This week we got word of one more hosted by a local business – PNTA, which is headquartered at 2424 SW Andover (the business park by Nucor), is collecting items for the nearby nonprofit Transitional Resources. Unlike many donation drives, this one continues into January, so there’s still time to help. Here’s the announcement we received:

You can help make the holidays brighter for those in need. PNTA is hosting a “Winter Essentials Drive” for Transitional Resources, running from December through January.

Transitional Resources supports adults living with serious mental illness by providing them with behavioral health treatment and supportive housing. The needs for their services are critical during the winter, and TR is in need of warm winter accessories and hygiene items to give to their clients to use during this time of year and beyond.

These items will go directly to those living in supportive housing in our community (*New items only):

Hygiene products: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, bar soap, hand soap, shampoo, hand lotion, and other items.
Warm socks
Other warm items

For questions about items needed, please email

Location Drop Off:

PNTA, 2414 SW Andover=
Mon-Fri 9 am-6 pm

If PNTA is closed, here are other options to help support TR:

FOLLOWUP: Here’s how you can help Friends of West Seattle Elementary reach its first big goal

Last week, we told you about our area’s newest Parent Teacher Organization, Friends of West Seattle Elementary. Today, they’re announcing the launch of their first-ever fundraising campaign, and explaining why they’re turning to the peninsula-wide community for help:

The newly established Parent Teacher Organization at West Seattle Elementary (WSE), Friends of West Seattle Elementary (FOWSE), is excited to announce the launch of its inaugural fundraiser! The group of parents, staff and teachers aim to raise $50,000 by March 1st, 2023, to support WSE students in their academic success.

WSE is a community school in the truest sense. Over 80% of our students live in low-income housing within a half-mile of the school and over 83% qualify to receive free or reduced cost lunch. Many of our families are former refugees and have experienced generational trauma and hardships that have created barriers to equitable access to services, including education, yet academic success is highly valued. Access to educational enrichments have proven to be difficult to attain for families of poverty due to parents working atypical hours, language barriers and the lack of understanding of the American educational systems.

To reach our lofty goal in under three months, we are turning to community members and business owners for support. Donations are tax-deductible and will be used to:

(1) Fund additional teachers for future school years – to keep class sizes small when district budget cuts occur. For example, this school year, WSE has some classrooms with over 26 students due to fewer teachers being allocated by the district as a result of district-wide enrollment declines.

(2) Host engagement activities – to enable the PTO to create shared, meaningful experiences, like pizza parties, spirit days, and staff appreciation events for students, staff and their families that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

(3) Provide classroom supplies and cover field trip costs – to support, encourage and equip teachers on the front-lines delivering an invaluable education to underserved populations.

Please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to support West Seattle Elementary students and staff. Any contribution helps ensure students, regardless of race, background, socioeconomic status, receive the best education possible.

You can make a donation online via this link.

Contact with any questions or concerns.

WEST SEATTLE WEEKEND SCENE: From donations to decor in The Junction

December 11, 2022 12:10 pm
|    Comments Off on WEST SEATTLE WEEKEND SCENE: From donations to decor in The Junction
 |   Holidays | How to help | Kiwanis Club of West Seattle | West Seattle news

As noted in our daily highlight list, you have extra reasons to go to The Junction during Farmers’ Market hours today:

The West Seattle Food Bank, West Seattle Junction Association, and Kiwanis Club of West Seattle are teaming up to accept coat (and other warm clothing) donations, with free cocoa, at the south end of the market (California/Alaska). A very young donor visited while we were there:

Also at the booth, you can buy Hometown Holidays mugs and $2/foot holiday garland, both benefiting WSJA (which is a nonprofit too):

Across the Walk-All-Ways intersection, just outside the market at KeyBank Plaza, you’ll find the Pathfinder K-8 PTSA selling handmade garlands and other “door decor”:

This is the second of three consecutive Sundays they’re in The Junction to sell the fundraising wreaths/decor, which benefit outdoor education for Pathfinder students. You can also order online!

All of the above is happening until 2 pm today.

LAST CALL: Get a Christmas tree, help save lives

December 10, 2022 10:21 am
|    Comments Off on LAST CALL: Get a Christmas tree, help save lives
 |   Holidays | How to help | West Seattle news

Today’s the last day to bid on that Noble Fir we told you about back on Monday – a West Seattle family is offering it to the top bidder to raise money for the Medic One Foundation, in memory of a family member and friend both lost in crashes last year. Two updates from the original call for bids – the tree is removable at 7′ than 8′ so you don’t have to have a mega-high ceiling, and they have the equipment to remove it, so it’s not a “bring your own saw” situation. Email your proposed bid amount to by midnight tonight; they’ll notify the top bidder Sunday morning, with the tree available the same day. (Full details are here!)

HOLIDAY HELP: Bake extra cookies for The Christmas People

(WSB photo, early cookie dropoffs last year)

Many ways you can help this holiday season – see the ongoing list in our West Seattle Holiday Guide – but only one like this: The Christmas People are again requesting home-baked cookies for the holiday meals they’ll be serving to people in need in King County. It’s their 24th year and they’re hoping for 7,000 cookies – home-baked, NOT purchased. Two dropoff spots, one in West Seattle, the other not far:

Drop cookies off at West Seattle Coworking, 9030 35th Avenue SW, [update] Thursday, December 22nd through Saturday, December 24th, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

Cookies may also be dropped off at our headquarters, Artisan Community Kitchen, 10836 E. Marginal Way South, Thursday, December 22 thru Sunday, December 25th, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

Questions? Contact Fred Hutchinson, 206-719-4979, or Ruth Bishop, 509-961-7736.