Only a week to go.
Christmas still is almost two weeks away, but the Grunion Gift Card Drive will wrap up next Thursday, Dec. 19. That deadline is set to allow WomenShelter time to use some of those gift cards to make Christmas season a little brighter for the victims of domestic violence they are helping.
This is the 16th year Grunion Gazette readers have helped to brighten the holidays for WomenShelter and the women, children and men they help. At last count, the drive has raised about $320,000 over those years.
But the 2019 drive has fallen behind. As of Tuesday, the tally was only about $11,500.
"We started out well," Grunion publisher Simon Grieve said. "But we hit a bit of a wall last week. We really need a big push this week if we're going to make our $20,000 goal."
The drive this year was jump-started in late November with a $3,000 donation from the Long Beach Grand Prix Foundation — the nonprofit has made similar donations for the last five years. There also have been two $1,000 donations.
"This young lady came in with a credit card, saying she wanted to donate $1,000," Susan Pilgram Stenho, the Grunion's front office manager, said. "When I said we couldn't take credit cards for donations, she left and came back with a $1,000 check."
The other $1,000 donation came in on a Saturday, when accounts receivable manager Pamela Patterson happened to be in the office. A man came to the door and handed her 10 $100 gift cards.
Most donations, though, are in the $50-$100 range, with gift cards from Target, Walmart and other stores. And every donation is entered into a drawing with a grand prize of $500 in gift certificates to Sevilla in downtown Long Beach. Second prize is $150 in certificates and five people will win $50 certificates.
"There's still time to help," Grieve said. "Every donation makes a difference to someone who needs a reason to smile this Christmas."
WomenShelter has been helping domestic violence victims and educating to stop the cycle of violence since 1977 in Long Beach, serving literally thousands of people every year. There is supportive housing facility in an undisclosed location, a second house opened this fall and a resource center offers counseling and other help at 4201 Long Beach Blvd. near Bixby Knolls.
There is still time to help. Purchase some gift cards, drop them by our office at 5225 E. Second St., or mail them to that address, attention Gift Card Drive, c/o Harry Saltzgaver. The zip code is 90803. Checks are welcome, and should be made out to WomenShelter.
To donate on line, go to www.womenshelterlb.org/grunion/.
For more information, call 562-433-2000.