Buy a lump of coal, help a needy family

Black Diamond's Palmer Coking Coal Company has made a tradition of selling gift-wrapped lumps of coal to raise funds for Vine Maple Place.

The nonprofit organization, based in Maple Valley, exists to help homeless families with children build develop self-sufficiency by providing transitional housing and support services.

In traditional English folklore, a lump of coal was left in the stocking hung over the fireplace of those who’d been naughty the previous year. The tradition of a lump of coal may date back to Italy. On the evening of the day after Christmas children would be visited by a good witch named Strega Buffana who flew around Italy on a broom and left treats for good children, but lumps of coal for naughty children. In Denmark, children put a shoe out on Christmas night with good children receiving chocolate and naughty children getting coal. The Scottish New Year’s tradition holds that if a tall dark stranger comes through your door carrying a lump of coal, it is said to be good luck. Another tradition claims the lump of coal is the only fuel to warm eternity those who’ve misbehaved.

Those wishing to contribute to the Vine Maple Place efforts can stop by 31407 State Route 169 in Black Diamond to pick up a gift-wrapped piece of coal and make a donation.

Palmer Coking Coal Company no longer sells coal, but provides landscape products to homeowners and contractors. For directions call 425-432-4700 or visit

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