PENINSULA HOME FUND — Donors' generosity lifts couple toward a better life
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Now in rehab for heart problems, Marie Routh sits with her partner, Richard Dicks, and their dog, Cain. —Photo by Karen Griffiths/for Peninsula Daily News

Give voice to your heart

A GIFT OF any size is welcome.

The Peninsula Home Fund has never been a campaign of heavy hitters.

If you can contribute only a few dollars, please don't hesitate because you think it won't make a difference.

Every gift makes a difference, regardless of its size.

To donate online by credit card, click on

All contributions are fully IRS tax-deductible.

The fund's IRS number, under the auspices of Olympic Community Action Programs — OlyCAP — is 91-0814319.

You will receive a written thank-you and acknowledgment of your contribution.

To delay may mean to forget.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For 25 years, Peninsula Daily News readers in Jefferson and Clallam counties have supported the “hand up, not a handout” Peninsula Home Fund.

More information about how the Home Fund operates and who benefits from our readers' generosity, plus a list of new donors, will be published in Sunday's PDN.

To donate online by credit card, click on

By Karen Griffiths
For Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Marie Routh and her life partner, Richard Dicks, used most of their savings moving to Port Angeles from Southern California.

“I hated the 90-plus-degree heat there and loved the cool weather up here,” she said.

“I'm a native Californian who didn't realize I was a Washingtonian at heart.”

Dick had a job lined up — but discovered after arriving that it would be a couple of weeks before he could start and that after starting, he wouldn't get a paycheck for three weeks.

They were living hand-to-mouth in a motel room and didn't have enough money to make it two weeks, let alone three.

Richard began looking for a new job.

He was hired by a local company to clean, cut and prepare seafood, then later found a better-paying job with a marine trades business.

Marie also started looking for work.

For 25 years she had been a medical assistant and medical office manager.

But since moving to Port Angeles, she felt weak and had difficulty getting the energy to get out of bed, much less look for work.

An examination revealed she needed treatment for serious heart problems and diabetes.

The couple had hoped to save money for a deposit on a rental home.

How could they save enough money now?

In addition to her medications, Richard had to take time off work to drive her to heart specialist appointments in Seattle.

Twice she went to Seattle for surgery to have stents put in.

They scraped by on Richard's pay, continuing to live out of suitcases in the cramped motel room.

But over the next six months they did the impossible, managing to save $1,100.

A search led them to a rental home with a landlord willing to allow 8-year-old Cain, their dog and joy of their lives.

But they needed another $400 for the $1,500 rental deposit.

Marie sought assistance at Housing Resource Center of Clallam County.

It was their agent at HRC who suggested trying to partner with Peninsula Housing Authority and the Peninsula Home Fund for the $400.

They contacted OlyCAP — nonprofit Olympic Community Action Programs, the No. 1 emergency-care agency in Jefferson and Clallam counties — which manages the Home Fund for the PDN.

Richard and Marie received a voucher from the Home Fund for $150 and another $250 from the housing authority.

Finally, they had enough for the deposit and moved into the home.

They're still not out of the woods financially, but Marie is now in cardiac rehab and receives Social Security Disability Income.

“Our landlady is so sweet,” said Marie.

“All she asked of us was to be good to our neighbors, which is easy since they are so nice.

“We can walk to the grocery store, and it's just so convenient.”

She and Richard thank the Peninsula Home Fund's contributors.

“That help means everything to us,” she said.

Fundraising campaign

Peninsula Home Fund — a safety net for local residents when there is nowhere else to turn — is seeking contributions for its annual holiday season fundraising campaign that runs from Thanksgiving through Dec. 31.

From Port Townsend to Forks, from Quilcene and Brinnon to Sequim and LaPush, the Home Fund is a “hand up, not a handout” for children, teens, families and the elderly to get through an emergency situation.

Money from the Home Fund is used for hot meals for seniors in Jefferson and Clallam counties; warm winter coats for kids; home repairs for a low-income family; needed prescription drugs; dental work; safe, drug-free temporary housing; eyeglasses — the list goes on and on.

3,000 helped

Begun in 1989, the Home Fund is supported by Jefferson and Clallam residents.

Individuals, couples, families, businesses, churches, service organizations and school groups set a record for contributions in 2012 — $268,137.

With heavy demand again this year, the carefully rationed fund is being depleted rapidly.

Since Jan. 1, the Home Fund has helped more than 3,000 individuals and households, many with children.

As we move into winter, the toughest period of the year, all of the money collected in 2012 is expected to be exhausted by Dec. 31.

No money is deducted by the Peninsula Daily News for administration fees or any other overhead.

Every penny goes to OlyCAP to help the most vulnerable members of our community.

Last modified: December 03. 2013 10:51PM
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