Issaquah Community Services steps up to help mother, kids find safer place to live

Issaquah Community Services steps up to help mother, kids find safer place to live

Nonprofit aims to raise $100,000 during sole annual fundraiser

Michelle wanted a better life for her three daughters.

The time seemed right for a change of scenery. Michelle was just getting out of a 10-year relationship and since she had to find a new place to live anyway, she decided to leave Federal Way. She felt that the city had become a little too unsafe, and wanted her kids, aged 21, 14 and 5, to live in a place where she knew they would be protected from danger.

“It was getting kind of rough,” she described. “It was time for a safer area for my kids.”

Michelle had heard about the excellent schools in Sammamish and thought it would be “the perfect area” for her girls. The question, however, was how to afford it. The cost of living on the Eastside, she knew, would be far higher than in South King County. Additionally, Michelle had previously depended on her partner’s income, but now, as a single parent, would be taking care of her household and girls — the youngest of whom has a disability — largely by herself.

“I knew it would be a challenge, but I knew it would be a better place,” she said.

So when Michelle needed help coming up with the $2,400 it cost to move from Federal Way to Sammamish, Issaquah Community Services was there to help.

“They said that they would help me right away,” Michelle said. “They helped me with my first month’s rent.”

This year, the organization hopes to raise $100,000 through Merry Christmas Issaquah and Sammamish — the nonprofit’s sole fundraiser.

“They were really nice and sweet and courteous,” Michelle said of the Issaquah Community Services volunteers.

Now that she has moved, Michelle is looking for work, but it’s a challenge finding a job that will allow her to work in just the narrow window of time that her girls are in school each day. She has started driving for Uber and Lyft, but said that prime business hours are early in the morning — before she has gotten her daughters off to school.

“Uber and Lyft slow down by the time I drop my daughter off, so it’s hard to make consistent earnings,” she explained.

Michelle is not able to get state aid for child care unless she can show proof of having a job or being offered employment. Once she finds a job and gets child care benefits, Michelle is looking forward to being able to expand her income-earning hours.

In the meantime, however, the holidays are a tough time for pocketbooks. Michelle was counting on receiving her usual monthly Social Security disability insurance for her 5-year-old, but said that as of December, she will not be receiving the funds anymore.

Now Michelle is wondering how to make Christmas special for her girls without the funds that she thought she would have.

“I was depending on that money,” she said. “It makes it really hard.”

Thanks to Issaquah Community Services, however, Michelle has hope. On the day of her interview, she said that she had seen earlier that day that she had a missed call from community services, reaching out to see if she needed any more help for the holiday season. Receiving an unsolicited offer of help is exactly the help Michelle needs to give her daughters a wonderful Christmas.

“I didn’t think I would need them but I think I will this month,” she said.

Merry Christmas Issaquah/Sammamish: How to help

Issaquah Community Services is a nonprofit organization serving individuals and families in Issaquah and Sammamish since 1973. Their annual fundraiser, The Merry Christmas Issaquah/Sammamish Fund, continues through the holiday season. This is the organization’s largest source of funds that go 100 percent back into the community to help your neighbors.

Make a tax-deductible donation to Issaquah Community Services by sending donations to Issaquah Community Services, P.O. Box 669, Issaquah, WA 98027.

You can also donate via PayPal at

The names of the donors (but not amounts) are published in the Reporter (unless donors request anonymity).

Call Issaquah Community Services at 425-837-3125 for more information.


Goal: $100,000

As of Dec. 13: $33,835

James Gorringe, Kimberly Weiss, Victoria Trigg, Charles McCrone, Mary Ann Hult, Ivan and Diane Lee, Denise Kraft in memory of Howard and Jo Kraft, James Dunkin, Beverly Huntington, Jeff and Carol Heinen, Melanie Marshall in memory of Gretchen and Paul Giesa, David Harris in memory of The Issaquah Press, Carla and Steven Hoffman, Charles and Jolene DeKeyser, Louise Tolle, Amy Hammingh, Ruben Nieto, Joseph Gleeson, Jean and Bruce Sillers, Pat and Jeff Randall, Robert Ingram, Lori and Doug Birrell, Shirleann Nold, Peggy and Mike Kanaga, Christopher and Connie Rezendes, Judy and Paul Kenyon, Rodger and Margo Shute, Bessie Burton, J and S Schmidt, New Life Christian Fellowship, Larry and Sherry Steward

Suzanne Suther, Pam and Joe MacDonald, Jodi Negrin, and five anonymous donors.

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