When 6-Year old Bella Baker was crowned NAM Miss Washington Princess over 33 other competitors last weekend, she had a decision to make. Every competitor had to bring school supplies to enter the competition and the winner would get to donate them all to a charity of their choice, on behalf of National American Miss. Luckily for Bella, she knew just the one, Tacoma Mainstay Charlie’s Dinosaur.
Charlie’s Dinosaur is a non-profit organization established in 2012 after the tragic death of Charlie and Braden Powell at their father’s hand. started by five Pierce County Detectives (including Ed Troyer, Baker’s grandfather,) to gather materials to help children moving out of abuse and into foster care. The children rarely have clean clothes, toiletries or anything to pass the time in the few days when they are in meetings, hearings and temporary care. Charlie’s Dinosaur is dedicated to helping kids out during this transitional period by providing these much needed items that can provide a sense of comfort.
Baker delivered the car-full of goods to the organization on Monday, Aug. 22, just in time for Charlie’s Dinosaur’s big donation drive. Donations are currently being accepted at any TAPCO Credit Union branch (full list at the end of this article) or the Tacoma Weekly offices here at 2588 Pacific Highway.
“The community recognizes there’s always a need, its totally community driven which is what’s beautiful about it. A lot of our support comes from former foster kids, which is something I don’t think a lot of people recognize, I think that speaks to the importance of Charlie’s Dinosaur,” Lynelle Anderson said.
This isn’t the only competition Bella has won. She was crowned the IJM Miss Washington Jr Princess last March and competed in an international competition in Virginia. Over Thanksgiving, she will head to California to represent Washington in a National American Miss competition.
“When Bella was crowned NAM Washington Princess last Saturday she became a dual title holder for two prestigious and well known pageants nationally and internationally. She is so excited to continue her work on behalf of foster children in her community,” Bella’s mother Nichole Baker said.
Another boost came from the 49’s Faithful Football kickoff barbeque, in which fans had to submit a box of school supplies to enter. Die-hard Seahawks fan Troyer braved the environment to collect the massive amount of donations. And if he can do that, does anyone really have an excuse not to give to the cause?
The fall is always a busy time for Charlie’s Dinosaur, as back to school supplies are always in demand, backpacks and binders are the order of the day and Bella has given the organization a huge boost in their goals. Other items needed include rolling luggage, pajamas, hair dryers, jeans and tops, zip-front hoodies, coats, toiletries, combs, brushes, art supplies and books.
Donations can be made
at any of the following TAPCO locations.
Canyon Branch / South Hill
5303 112th Street E
Tacoma Avenue Branch
922 Tacoma Avenue
6312 19th Street West
6th Avenue Branch
2802 6th Avenue