Islanders do good

Mercer Island residents have been busy this spring helping others on the Island and around the world.

Twins Jackson and Shelby Brodman, age 7, decided to use their March 17 birthday party to raise money for American Red Cross disaster relief.

``Around Christmas time they received so much, we sat down and talked about how all those kids who survived the tsunami don't have anything,'' said the twins' mother, Cara Brodman. ``We talked specifically about what these kids lost, like their special blanket or a stuffed animal -- things that are important to kids-- and how, hopefully, we could raise some money to replace those items.''

Although the twins agreed to have a birthday party with no gifts, by the time they got to the actual day, she assumed there would be resistance. She was surprised when her children were excited about it, Brodman said.

Jackson and Shelby invited both their classes at Lakeridge Elementary to the party at Pump It Up in Kirkland. More than 45 children attended the party, each class donating approximately $380, for a total of $760. The twins gave the money to Crystal Hoobs, the events specialist with the American Red Cross King/Kitsap County chapter.

``She told the kids what a great thing they'd done,'' said Cara Brodman. ``She said she was proud of them ... they were really happy.''

Congregation raises money

Herzl-Ner Tamid congregation on Mercer Island focused on helping Congregation Adath Israel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with its annual dinner and auction, entitled ``Cafe Buenos Aires.'' Items donated to Herzl's auction raised $12,000 to help members of Congregation Adath Israel purchase food and pay for utilities, as well as children's summer camp fees. A total of $40,000 was raised for the Herzl-Ner Tamid operating fund from that same auction.

Since the economy in Argentina collapsed four years ago, causing pensions and currency to be worthless, much of the population has had to rely on social service organizations for food and shelter.

Nadine Strauss, executive director of Herzl-Ner Tamid, noted that the Herzl congregation had a blast during the evening, dancing the night away and eating Latin-inspired foods. Herzl-Ner Tamid can be reached at 232-8555.

Dream Gala

Island residents Kathy and Ralph Brindley chaired the 16th annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Dream Gala on March 12. Their daughter Laura gave a speech about living with Type 1 diabetes during the ``Fund-a-Cure'' portion of the auction, in which nothing is sold, but donations are given.

That part of the auction raised $2.2 million. The total for the event was $4.1 million for diabetes research. Nearly 1,000 people attended the Dream Gala, where auction items, such as a BMW, a trip to Australia and an evening with ``Tonight Show'' host Jay Leno, were up for grabs.

The JDRF Northwest can be reached at 206-838-5153.

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