I’m Asking For A Buck

I’ve been involved in a fund-raiser or two over the years, but I’ve tried my best not to bug people that I know. I mean, seriously, how many friends do you have that would like you to pledge some money towards a very good cause so they can walk, climb, bike, yoga, whatever? I’ve done the “Beat the Bridge”, the Bleeding Disorder Foundation of Washington walk, countless auctions and of course, those “Make a Wish Marathons” when I stayed on the radio for 28 straight hours. I think we did three of them.

But, fair warning, if you keep reading this, I’m going to ask you for a buck. One dollar.  It’s to help a situation that is no doubt going on all over the U.S. right now, but the folks at the Northshore Schools Foundation are actually doing something about it.

With a week to go in May, I thought I’d call special attention to the N.S.F.’s annual “Milk Money Campaign.”  I remember when I first heard about this, I thought, “Well, yeah, kids need milk. Calcium for their bones, etc.”  But M.I.L.K. is actually an acronym for Making an Impact on Learning & Kids.  To play on the theme, milk bottles (generously donated by a northwest dairy) have been labeled and placed all over the Northshore School District–meaning Bothell, Kenmore and Woodinville. In businesses, in churches, where ever someone might toss in their pocket change to help the cause.

What exactly is the cause?  Homeless students.  We’re talking kids that, through no fault of their own, cringe when some of the fun things about being a kid come up, because they just don’t have the money.  They could be living in a shelter, a relative or friend’s home, because these important years have been far from smooth.

The folks at the Northshore Schools Foundation reached out to me this year and asked if I would produce a video that helps tell their story. So, if you’re up for it and have three minutes, I’d like to invite you to watch it.

If you skipped down to here because you’re too busy, I get it. I’m right there with you.  Let me introduce you to this fact–there are 200 homeless kids attending school right now in the Northshore School District. That’s where my kids went and where I’m still quite connected.  It’s not a poor community by any means, so it’s hard for me to imagine that homelessness even exists up there.

I figure I know enough people that if I put out the plea and you could spare a dollar, we could really make a big difference in this campaign that wraps up at the end of the month.  All the money raised is distributed to principals in the district that have asked teachers to let them know when they discover a kid in need.  Maybe its money for a field trip or a book from the book fair, or fees to take a college entrance exam or even some kind of a nice dress so they could attend the prom.

This is a soft ask.  I won’t know who kicks in and who doesn’t. If you’re thinking, “Well, those kids are up there. I’d rather help someone in our area.” Do it! Make it happen.  We are all so incredibly blessed and lucky for all that we have that this seems like a pretty small way to make a big difference in some young lives.

If you’d like to donate $1 to the M.I.L.K. campaign, just click here.

Yeah, just one dollar.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Tim Hunter

P.S. Oh, for Pete’s sake!  So, apparently the online donation software can only accept a minimum of $10 donations. So, if you see a jar this week, drop a buck in.  Just wanted to pass along some kudos and congratulate all the worker bees behind this cool program.

A Wine Wonderland

This past Sunday, we ended up having an incredibly good time as my two step-kids decided to treat their mom to a Mother’s Day adventure. Of course, I tagged along. We first went to the new Revolve restaurant in Bothell, made a quick trip to Country Village and then headed off to Woodinville Wine Country.

As has happened every time I go wine tasting there, I ask myself–why don’t we do this more often???

For readers outside the area, Woodinville is a suburb around a 25-minute drive northeast of Seattle. There’s a city surrounded by neighborhoods, but there’s also acreage where the Washington State Wine industry thankfully decided to invade and set up shop.  As of this writing (and it seems like the number changes a lot) there are over 130 wineries with tasting rooms in and around Woodinville.

The way it works—you pay $10 to sample some of their wines, spend $XX on wine and you can use that $10 towards your purchase. Or, should you decide to join their wine club, there’s usually no fee, but you are expected to buy several bottles twice a year or quarterly. Another benefit, as a wine club member, you get to go in and enjoy free tastings whenever you like and you get invited to special member-only events. Plus, when you buy wine as a member, you get a membership discount.

A couple of examples of that membership bennie thing–

I went to one winery on a Tuesday to pick up our club wine. Of course, while there, I did a tasting. One particularly tickled my palate, so I bought a bottle.  I got the special Tuesday discount they were offering PLUS my membership discount, so I saved 25%. Score!

During that Mother’s Day tour, we visited one of the more upscale wineries and our tasting including the big finale` of a Cabernet that clocked in at $180 a bottle. With one of us belonging to their wine club, the tasting was free. And, after we had tasted our allotment, the wine server asked if we wanted any repeat tastes. We all went for that expensive Cab again.

I tell ya, it ruins you. But it a wonderful way.

We’ve joined a total of four wine clubs in the area: Efeste, Dusted Valley, Refuge & Prospect and Martedi. Each has it’s own unique style and all are doing amazing things when it comes to wine. Plus, there are some great stories to be heard while tasting. The family operation handed down, the fun names they’ve come up for their varieties, the winemaker who went through a divorce and took every penny left to go for his dream.  But there are literally over 100 others that are also produce amazing wines, with stories to match. Washington is now the number 2 wine producing state in our country and we can all be very proud of the quality being produced.

There are wine tours where you climb on a bus, or you could Uber or Lyft your way around. If you’re driving, force yourself to taste and maybe not finish every pour to the bottom of the glass and limit yourself to three wineries at most.

I joked online when I posted a picture of our group on Mother’s Day with the comment, “So glad no one else thought of going wine-tasting with mom.” The truth was, it was packed.  We are very lucky to have such a great attraction so close to home. If you even remotely enjoy wine tasting, Woodinville is calling.

Tim Hunter