The Pour House Bar & Grill and Twin Peaks Pub in the heart of downtown North Bend are partnering with Camp Eyabsut this season to provide 60 young burn survivors with holiday care packages. This collaboration and effort was facilitated by longtime Valley denizens, Rob and Joy Sherard. They are entering their 10th year fundraising for families in need, and this time around, the need is particularly dire.
Restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic prevent much of the support provided to burn survivors by Camp Eyabsut. The usual annual burn camp was not hosted in 2020, for the first time in decades. Supplies and gifts are not being physically delivered to families. The usual tree decorating ceremonies are not able to occur.
Camp Eyabsut (pronounced EE-AH-B-SOOT) is a week-long summer camp for young burn survivors, ages 5-17. Every year Camp Eyabsut offers kids a chance to escape the everyday challenges of life as a survivor. The event is usually hosted at Camp Waskowitz near Tanner. Eyabsut was named during a solemn and moving fireside “blessing ceremony” in 1997 by elders from the Skagit Tribe. In their language, Eyabsut means “to rise above anything.”
Camp Eyabsut has been assisting young burn survivors and their families for 33 years throughout the Pacific Northwest. Camp Eyabsut’s mission is to support, enhance, and positively impact young burn survivors’ quality of life through team building, challenging activities and friendships in a fun and safe camp environment. Joy and Rob Sherard have been running holiday fundraisers for Camp Eyabsut for 10 years, among other generous contributions. This year they are reaching out for help from the community. The Pour House Bar & Grill and Twin Peaks Pub are answering that call but also need our help. As Joy says, without the volunteers and community helping it would not work.
The packages resulting from the partnership and fundraising efforts with the Pour House and Twin Peaks will have beanies, family games, holiday candy, ornaments and other goodies for them to open for the holidays. Additional donations and funds are donated directly to the burn camp. They collect donations via Venmo and Paypal and need volunteers (see below).
The partnership with the bars and Joy’s involvement with Camp Eyabsut are classic examples of connection and bridge-building within Snoqualmie Valley. Joy and Rob Sherard owned the Mt. Si Pub for 7 years and know the other local bar owners well. Camp Eyabsut itself is hosted in the valley and has previously provided community inspiration.
Joy first got involved when the camp counselors came in for lunch at Mt Si Pub one day. While chatting, they found a common connection is Joy’s sister, Stephanie McGinnis, who is Battalion Chief at Port of Seattle Fire. For the last 15 years, Stephanie has hosted what is called a “Three Alarm Auction” to raise money for burn survivor children and youths. The proceeds allow the children to go to camp, be among like individuals, and help them feel like they belong.
Stephanie’s involvement provided the means for more kids to attend burn camp, hosted at Camp Waskowitz Facility. She is well known in the Fire Fighter Community for her fundraising efforts.
When the counselors found out about the connection, they all got to know each other and Joy was inspired to help. She offered the first year to take on one family (the whole family) and ended up taking on three (while going through St. Vincent for local families in the Snoqualmie Valley for the others).
Joy and Rob’s passion for supporting the Camp led them to continue consistently support the camp from the very beginning. They took on 5 to 7 families each year over a period of 7 years. They not only collected needed and wanted items but also basic needs like toiletry and food. Joy took on supporting burn camp for two years, and this will be her third year. This amazing couple’s passion for the cause continues to shine through the challenges of the pandemic. They are all very hopeful at the prospect of supporting the 2021 burn camp as it is critical to the mindset of survivors.
This year, Joy reached out to her contact at Eyabsut in October and wanted to personally support a family. The Camp suggested the “holiday in a box” concept based on the success of the similar “camp in a box” concept. As mentioned earlier, the restrictions stemming from the pandemic response prevented the normal 2020 burn camp. Since the usual holiday tree with tags also cannot be put up this year, it made a lot of sense to do it this way.
Joy ran with it immediately and took that potential to help out and engaged the community; enter Twin Peaks Pub and the Pour House Bar & Grill. They stepped up to help out and as a result, 60+ camp gift packages will go out to the burn survivors this holiday season. Although Joy organizes much of the effort, she cannot express how important volunteers and the community are in making it a reality. She and the volunteers put love and care into creating each package, presenting a customized package and experience for each family.
So, if you’re headed out this holiday weekend or the next couple of weeks, consider a stop by either bar for a drink or take out. You can also read further to find other means to contribute to the holiday camp care package effort. Donations and volunteering are needed to help make the 60 care packages a reality. The items will be shipped on December 12 from the Snoqualmie Valley Moose Lodge.
Joy can provide more information and accept donations if you can’t make it in to support the local bars. Cash donations can be accepted, but Venmo or Paypal is preferred. You can also find the donation link on the Camp’s website. You can also find her on Venmo using the below QR code or using a handle search within the app.
Every little bit counts and this season especially. Can you pitch in this year to help drive this community effort? Check out the Camp Eyabsut website for more information about the program.