The two donated Xbox video games had arrived at Redmond's Avondale Park just in time for Christmas. And they've been popular additions to...

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The two donated Xbox video games had arrived at Redmond’s Avondale Park just in time for Christmas. And they’ve been popular additions to the community area at the Springboard Alliance’s transitional housing facility for homeless families.

The majority of the 67 kids who live at the complex are 8 to 11 years old. There’s always a line to play the games. One console was available for checkout and the other was set up in the clubhouse area.

But about a week ago, the Xbox in the clubhouse disappeared, reports Kim Loveall Price, executive director at the housing center.

“We were surprised that something that popular would walk away,” she said. “The room gets unlocked for birthday parties, family gatherings and baby showers, but it hasn’t been a problem.”

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Angela Ferguson, who lives in Avondale, was distressed. “Our neighborhood consists of families and individuals who are working hard to mend their lives,” she wrote in an e-mail. “It is sad when someone would steal from children whose parents cannot afford this small luxury.”

Ferguson and another mother added that the games have helped their children stay out of trouble and develop friendships. “Our program doesn’t have money to purchase a new game console so we are hoping someone will help us out,” she added.

Price understands the need for children’s activities. She and staff members at Springboard Alliance were being interviewed yesterday afternoon for a possible grant to set up an after-school program.

“We have a staff member who hangs out with the youth after school but nothing formal,” she said. “We need grant funding to develop a regular program.”

Dining for dollars

John Kenny and some compatriots at the Redmond Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2995 have been sending care packages to troops in Iraq. “We’ve got contacts in three Army units and one Marine unit who see that the packages get to people who don’t ordinarily get mail,” Kenny said. “We all know how important it is to get mail when you’re in the service.”

To cover costs, the group at the VFW holds fund-raising dinners every couple of months. Tonight’s meal features paella. “I don’t know what it is, but everyone assures me it is a good dish,” said Kenny of Bothell. “It’s funny, I haven’t talked to a woman who doesn’t know exactly what it is.”

Of course, paella is a tasty Spanish casserole made with rice, seafood and saffron.

Tickets for tonight’s dinner, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m., are $12. The VFW is at 4330 148th Ave. N.E.

Look-alike daze

Kerrie Lewis of Auburn was thrilled when she thought she saw rock star Bono sampling Ivar’s Restaurant and Seafood Bars crab dip at Seattle’s recent Rain Dance celebration.

Then she discovered the man was only a Bono look-alike, Ty Roberts of Bellevue.

Lewis, a marketing manager for Ivar’s, said she had high hopes because the real Bono, the lead singer of U2, was in town at the time for a concert. Still, she enjoyed the joke, particularly when someone snapped a photograph of her with Roberts and an Austin Powers look-alike, Mark Shoop of Bothell.

A couple of days later, Lewis’ co-workers came to her office at Ivar’s corporate headquarters. They said Bono and his wife were next door in Ivar’s Acres of Clams. She didn’t believe them.

But the real Bono really had shown up for lunch.

“We respected his privacy,” Lewis said. “I’ll settle for my photo with the look-alike. Just don’t tell anyone.”

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or sgrindeland@seattletimes.com