More than 50 volunteers showed up by the car and truck-load Saturday in Bonney Lake to help move inventory from the former Lions 4 Kids House to its new location just one street away.
It was a momentous occasion – especially for Carol Wells-Reed, its founder and director. Her eyes watered as she struggled to convey how much the show of support meant to her.
“Not many people would ever accuse me of being speechless, but it takes my breath away,” she said. “There’s such a level of caring among the people in our communities.”
Lions 4 Kids House is a nonprofit organization which seeks to provide new and gently-used clothing and school supplies to students who qualify for free or reduced lunches within the Carbonado, White River, Dieringer, Sumner and Orting school districts.
The new location. leased from the City of Bonney Lake, features 1,500 square feet – an additional 300 square feet compared with the former site. The extra space will provide a formal office, laundry area and a child’s seating and entertainment center, she said.
Some of the work performed by volunteers on Saturday included moving inventory to the new site; laying down lineoleum; transplanting over-sized shrubs and bulbs; cutting ceramic tiles; and measuring for a future patio, sidewalk, wheelchair ramp and handicapped parking area.
For as many tasks available, there were just as many volunteers.
Mike Judkins, scoutmaster for Troop No. 172 in Sumner, brought along several of his Boy Scouts.
“They’re putting in a winding gravel pathway through the garden,” he said of the serenity garden.
Scouts Brent Buda, Levi Venefra and Marshall Bushwill moved pailfuls of rocks they’d picked from the soil to ready the pathway for gravel.
Recruiting the scouts’ help was easy.
“Carol is such an amazing woman,” Judkins said. “We joke that you just want to come help her – I don’t want to let her down!”
Cameron Buda, 15, and Bonney Lake High senior Blake Leon helped carry in metal shelving with Bob Leisteiko. Later, Leon moved an andromeda shrub to its new home with fellow volunteer Kevin Havener; the hours Leon worked were credited toward the community service portion of his senior project, he said.
Inside the new building, a crew of Home Depot volunteers measured a former garage for new flooring while Gordon and Rosalie Nast placed white tiles on the bathroom counter. Volunteers at the former location bagged clothing and moved large, heavy storage bins full of seasonal attire, personal care products and cleaning supplies – all while clients continued to shop for their children until the doors closed at 2 p.m.
Keeping the former house open until then was critical, Wells-Reed said. “We tried to notify them well in advance, but we had no way of notifying them (individually.) It’s important to be aware of the constraints and needs.”
At 2 o’clock another round of volunteers pulled up to the former site to move the remaining clothing – not an easy task, she said.
“We have three iron racks full of clothing, a 20-foot wall of free-standing racks, drawers for baby clothes and eight 3 by 7-foot racks with underwear, pajamas and personal care items,” she said. “We have a whole inventory that would rival a department in Macy’s.”
With the move now complete, Lions 4 Kids will ready the interior of the new house in preparation of opening today, Wednesday. And getting there has been a journey of determination and support for all of the Lions 4 Kids volunteers.
“We have miracles in this community,” said fellow Lions 4 Kids volunteer Susan McCammon. “We have a supportive city. It’s just a miracle.”
The house will celebrate its grand opening from 1 to 5 p.m. March 8. The Lions 4 Kids House is located at 18429 89th St E. in Bonney Lake. It is open 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Beginning Tuesday it will also be open from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and its phone is 253-447-3844.
Reach Judy Halone at email@example.com or 360-802-8210.