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Helping Hands North West

Puget Sound Orthopaedics Gives Back to the Community

Picture it: a young woman receives a backpack donated by Puget Sound Orthopaedics containing a few “essentials” including a nice, professional outfit to prepare for when she leaves the foster system at age 18. Later, she is standing at a bus stop and recognizes the Puget Sound Orthopaedics logo on an employee’s shirt. The woman tells this PSO employee, she “wore that outfit to her first job interview and got the job!” And, “if it wasn’t for the clothes we purchased for her she wouldn’t have gotten the position.” Barb Reis, a Helping Hands North West (HHNW) board member, recounts this story as she discusses the many reasons why Puget Sound Orthopaedics dedicates time, funding and resources to giving back to the community.

From Friendship Fund to Helping Hands North West

It started out with a group of PSO employees who wanted to donate a portion of their salaries to a fund meant for supporting charitable causes. At the time of its original inception, this was simply called The Friendship Fund. As PSO grew and more employees recognized the amazing work accomplished by the Friendship Fund, the organization saw fit to transform the Fund to Helping Hands North West, a federally-recognized non-profit charitable organization.

Year-Round Community Care

Today, Helping Hands North West and Puget Sound Orthopaedics participate in year-round charitable giving and community service including:

Stuff the Bus – A school backpack drive serving Communities in Schools to provide 100-125 underprivileged students with a backpack filled with supplies needed for the upcoming school year.

Lakewood Area Shelter Association Christmas Gifts – LASA provides “Christmas tags” to place on gifts purchased by PSO employees/HHNW members for children and families that otherwise would not have any presents under their tree (and who, perhaps, have no tree at all).

Thanksgiving Food Drive – An annual food drive benefitting the FISH Food Bank open to employees and PSO patients for donation.

Feeding the Homeless – Once a month HHNW board members, PSO employees and other volunteers donate their time to serve food to the homeless men and women at Nativity House, a Homeless Adult Service provided by Catholic Community Services.

Relay for Life of Lakewood – Annual fundraising and participation in the Lakewood Relay for Life to promote cancer awareness and support the American Cancer Society’s efforts to find a cure.

Coat and Blanket Drive – Cold weather items are donated to the homeless shelter at Nativity House every year before the start of winter.

Foster Children Backpacks – Providing 18-year-old foster children with backpacks containing essential supplies as they enter adulthood with little to no resources or support.

The Pathways Program – HHNW’s $150.00 donated stipend provides food and beverages for attendees and their families at these justice system outreach workshops. Since 2012, 89 out of 145 youths who participated in the workshops avoided becoming repeat juvenile offenders.

A Philosophy Worth Supporting

Barb Reis, now a HHNW board member and head of the homeless feeding effort, sums up the organization’s philosophy, “We’ll help anyone we can when their situation is brought to our attention and within our means of helping. We support the needs of those around us by working with several groups and doing rewarding projects.”

If you wish to contribute to our community outreach efforts, you can make a donation to Helping Hands North West by contacting Barb Reis at 253-830-5200.

PSO employees who wish to contribute, please contact Sarah Harris.

This article was written and authored by Leslie Kelling.

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