Seahawks honor efforts of Lakewood woman

News Tribune Story:
Seahawks honor efforts of Lakewood woman

[Editor’s note: this article about Diane Formoso and Caring for Kids appeared in the News Tribune Dec. 7, 2000 under Skip Card’s byline. It should be noted that Diane was nominated for this award in secret by Clover Park School District Superintendent, Dr. Doris Walker. Many thanks to Dr. Walker for her support and recognition!]

From the driver’s seat of her school bus, Diane Formoso sees the children most Lakewood-area residents don’t want to believe exist. The luckiest children in this unlucky group come from families too poor to afford new shoes, winter clothes or school supplies.

For the unluckiest, poverty is so severe that teeth that have never seen a dentist are rotted to the gums. Others miss weeks of school because their parents can’t afford special shampoos to combat head lice.

“Even on my little, tiny bus, the needs of the kids are incredible,” Formoso said. “Somebody’s got to speak out for them.” Formoso does more than speak. For nearly 30 years, Formoso has collected and distributed donations. Her efforts have given countless children coats, pencils, haircuts, books, a visit to a dentist or doctor or often a hearty meal and some toys at Christmas.

Last month, the Seattle Seahawks noticed. Formoso was named the team’s representative for the national Community Quarterback Award, which recognizes volunteers whose leadership and dedication better their communities.

“She seemed so committed,” said Sandy Gregory, director of community outreach for the Seahawks. “She just gives of herself so much.”

Formoso earned $1,000 as a finalist and another $10,000 as the team’s top pick. The money will go to Caring for Kids, the charity Diane formed in 1992.

“I was excited about $1,000,” Formoso said. When she was named the $10,000 winner, “I thought I was going to stop breathing.”

The $11,000 already has been swallowed by the community’s needs. This month alone, Caring for Kids will provide $27,631 in Christmas presents to more than 600 needy families in Lakewood, University Place, and Steilacoom. Another $5,000 will go to buy hams to be included in holiday food baskets. [Editor’s note: actually we ended up getting them at a discount from Lakewood Marketplace for only $2700.] Most of the food was collected by schoolchildren. {Editor’s note: Lochburn students once again collected over 12,000 cans of food in their school alone!!!!]

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