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Keeping Etta's cause: Buy a tree and give back to the world | Kitsap Week
By Brett Cihon
Port Orchard Independent
Those looking to give back this holiday season look no further than the Etta Projects Christmas Tree Lot.
All of the money spent on the Douglas firs, noble firs and wreaths will go to support the Etta Projects, a nonprofit organization based in South Kitsap that works with rural communities in Bolivia to implement sustainable solutions for a variety of challenges facing the country.
The lot is open Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is located at 7354 Bethel Burley Road SE, Port Orchard.
Buying an Etta Projects tree offers a unique opportunity to donate to an area far outside the normal realm of Christmas thought, said Pennye Nixon, the group’s executive director.
“It’s a way to give back to the world when you buy a tree,” she said.
The Etta Projects started in 2003 in honor of Etta Turner (1986-2002), a South Kitsap High School junior who died in Bolivia while she was on a Rotary Exchange program. She was 16 when a bus she was riding in crashed down a steep mountain road.
Etta Projects aids Bolivia in a way in that the politically aware Turner would have approved of, said Laura Stafford, co-owner of Le Garmache Catering, which provides space for the tree lot.
The nonprofit group, which sometimes spends up to four years implementing projects, works with women and children in rural communities.
“Helping women and children become empowered, that was Etta,” Stafford said.
Many of the trees on the lot come with a small picture of one of the many Bolivian residents the Etta Projects has helped over the years. A reminder of where money goes once it leaves the lot, Nixon said.
Stafford and Le Gamarche co-owner Betsy Jolliffe donate a portion of profits from their Cedar Springs Pavilion by the Lakes to the Christmas tree lot every year. They see their donation as a small way to give back to an important cause.
It’s also a way to remember the bubbly, smart girl who worked at Le Garmache for two years before leaving for South America, Stafford said.
“Etta was an awesome, awesome person,” Stafford said.
Donations at work
Here are some examples of how donations have made a difference in the lives of people in Bolivia:
- Etta Projects feeds approximately 240 children per day.
- $3,000 created the School Garden Program.
- $1,500 created the Bakery Project Program.
- $210 paid for vitamins for 100 children per day for one year.
- $120 fed a child for a year, including parasite analysis and treatment.
- $100 purchased a treadle sewing machine.
- $20 built an in-home water filter for a family of 10 for six to 12 months.
All donations to Etta Projects go to project support, and not administrative costs. Donations are tax-deductible.
Mail donations to Etta Projects, 13624 Vintage Drive SW, Port Orchard, WA 98367.
Donate online at www.ettaprojects.com.
Donate by phone, (360) 876-7487.