Three years ago, The Stranger turned the traditional “holiday gift guide” on its head. Instead of the predictable holiday-shopping issues that most alt-weeklies produce, we opted to shift our focus to raising money for a great local charity. Northwest Harvest is a terrific organization that feeds the hungry in Washington State.

Our first Strangercrombie pullout catalog came together as a last-minute idea in the fall of 2002. We gathered up some swag from around the office, asked a few businesses to kick in some merchandise, and even put our own pages up for sale. Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, community members who donated goods and services, and all the Stranger readers who went online and bid, the first Strangercrombie brought in more than $6,000 for Northwest Harvest. We were stunned.

In year two, we decided to get serious. We gathered gifts like full-series passes to SIFF, shopping sprees at Easy Street Records, lunch with Mayor Greg Nickels, and gift packages for film lovers, sex-toy fans, and body-hair phobes, and once again we hocked our own pages. Thanks to the staggering generosity of our friends, associates, and advertisers, Strangercrombie stunned us all again, raising a whopping $15,000 for Northwest Harvest, and making history as the group’s biggest fundraiser ever. In 2004, the bidding was even more furious and the results even more astounding. Last year’s Strangercrombie raised more than $30,000 dollars.

For Strangercrombie 2005, we've added a huge auction-ending concert with some of the Northwest's biggest bands. All proceeds from the door, along with all earnings from the Strangercrombie auction, will be presented to Northwest Harvestto continue their noble mission.

What we thought would be a one-time good deed has turned into one of The Stranger’s most popular annual issues. Maybe it’s the awesome collection of stuff we have the honor auctioning off. Or maybe it’s that people like to do their part to feed the hungry. We think it’s a combination of both. Strangercrombie is an absolutely unique fundraiser. Individuals and businesses provide the goods and services, The Stranger puts the auction and the catalog together, and every penny raised goes to Northwest Harvest, which doesn’t have to lift a finger. All Northwest Harvest has to do is cash the check and feed the hungry.