Spring is sprung, volunteering and a soup luncheon fundraiser


The calendar and the flowers in my yard may be announcing that Spring is near, but you and I both know that there will still be plenty of soup days before storing our soup tureen for the summer. I love experimenting with different soup recipes, but more than that, I love trying different soups, so when an event blends soup tasting with a nonprofit fundraiser, count me in.

Soup Is On

Mark your calendar for March 31st as Family Education Support Services (just call them FESS) hosts Seeds of Hope, a Soup Luncheon and Fundraiser. FESS will be serving a variety of soups and bread, and best of all, you can have as much as you'd like!

Plus, you have the option of upgrading to have your lunch served in an authentic ceramic bowl or special bread plate that you may take home after the event. Both are made just for this event. Want to ensure your new dishes match your décor? For an additional upgrade, you can choose which design you would like rather than taking the next item available.

I know this event is a few weeks away, but there is a limited supply of bowls and plates, so you need to get your tickets early (I already have, so I hope to see you there). In addition to the delicious soups, the hour will be filled with stories of hope, laughter, and maybe a few tears, as we celebrate triumphs and great work being done in our communities.

While we hope everyone has fun, this is a fundraiser, and there will be an ask to give at the end of the event. According to Lynsi Polanco, Director of Development for FESS, these fundraisers are especially critical for the sustainability of a nonprofit. “A lot of our funding comes from grants and contracts which restrict how we may use those funds. Fundraisers such as Seeds of Hope allow us to accrue unrestricted funding” Unrestricted funding is essential for nonprofits as it allows them to pay for critical things like rent, salaries, heating/cooling and other items that are imperative to running their business but not the kinds of items donors normally want to fund.

Pinwheels of Hope and Prevention

Planco said that the timing for this fundraiser is important as it helps raise awareness of Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is in April. The Seeds of Hope event is part of FESS’ kickoff to the Pinwheels of Hope campaign to grow a better tomorrow for children in Washington. “During the month of April, Pinwheels of Hope Partners showcase the value of prevention by planting pinwheel gardens and sharing prevention messages with their community.

Individuals and businesses may buy a bouquet of pinwheels for a pinwheel garden that they can display at their location with a sign reminding people that it is Child Abuse Prevention Month.” According to Planco, organizations such as FESS provide programs and services that are essential if we want to end child abuse. “Ending child abuse starts with providing good parental education, which is why we offer programs like Guiding Good Choices Parenting Series, Dynamic Dads and Parent for Parent, among others to help parents better cope with the struggles of raising children which has become much different and more difficult this past year.” Planco emphasized that the programs offered by FESS are for all parents; even good parents attend parenting classes so they can become better parents.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Olympia Downtown Alliance is hosting a Downtown Cleanup on Saturday, April 22. Volunteers will refresh the landscaping, do streetscape maintenance (sweeping, trash removal, cleaning, etc.), and partner with the LoveOly Painters program on a predetermined paint project. For more details go to Oly CleanUps.

The City of Tumwater has several upcoming opportunities to volunteer.

  • Easter Egg Dash - There are two opportunities available to assist with this year's Easter Egg Dash event. The first is the Egg Stuffing events on Wednesday, March 22 and 23, the second is the Easter Egg Dash itself on Saturday, April 8.
  • Earth Day. Saturday, April 22, Tumwater Parks & Recreation is teaming up with the PARC Foundation to celebrate Earth Day with a fun and rewarding volunteer work party. Volunteers are needed to add mulch to plant beds and remove invasive plants and debris at Tumwater Historical Park.
  • Ongoing Opportunities. The Volunteer Tumwater Stewardship Program includes opportunities to Adopt-a-Road, Adopt-a-Neighborhood, Adopt-a-Park, or Adopt-a-Trail! Through these programs, volunteers plan and participate in quarterly maintenance activities to beautify our City.

For more information on all these opportunities, go to Volunteer Tumwater.

Soliciting your ideas

If you know of a nonprofit that is doing something great, celebrating a success, needs some outstanding volunteers, or hosting an event, let me know! This column (aside from a little education) celebrates nonprofits!
Mary Beth Harrington, CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) lives in Tumwater. She travels the country speaking at conferences and to individual organizations articulating issues facing nonprofits. Send your ideas to her at


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