Hundreds of children to receive gifts from Energy Northwest this holiday season

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Hundreds of children around the Tri-Cities will receive gifts they weren’t expecting this holiday season.

The initiative by Energy Northwest will ensure that 376 children in the Benton Franklin Head Start program will have presents under the tree. Each child in the program was individually sponsored by an Energy Northwest employee. They will each receive two gifts: A toy and an article of clothing.

“Today was delivery day,” said Kristine Darling, a specialist in Construction and Project Management with Energy Northwest. “It’s so much fun and then they’ll have their parties over the next couple of days, to just bring a smile to those kids’ faces.”

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A visit from Santa is typically accompanied by the delivery of the gifts. But with recent COVID-19 restrictions, in-person visits from Santa are not allowed.

Instead, Energy Northwest set up an appearance from Santa, Mrs. Clause, and the elves over a video greeting.

“Some of our kiddos don’t get Christmas, due to circumstances beyond their control,” said Letty Perez, Family Services Coordinator with Benton Franklin Head Start. “It’s so wonderful that Energy Northwest gets to play Santa Claus and come and give them Christmas that they may not have been able to have.”

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This year marks the 41st year of donating toys for Energy Northwest. In total, they’ve donated gifts for more than 14,000 children in the Tri-Cities area.

“Helping children, especially those in the Head Start program each year is such a joy,” Darling said. “To know that I am part of bringing a smile to a child on Christmas morning is fulfilling and makes me grateful to work for a company that helps our community.”

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