'A hand up, not a handout': This season's Peninsula Home Fund campaign debuts

Peninsula Daily News

A grandmother caring for two small children received help with her utility bills.

An out-of-work logger in Quilcene got money to obtain prescribed medicine.

A fourth-grade student got the glasses he needed to do his schoolwork in Port Townsend.

Material was provided to help a volunteer group assist a Port Angeles woman with repairs to her mobile home.

A Forks woman received a load of wood to heat her house.

Using a record-breaking $254,593.73 given in 2011, more than 2,700 individuals and households in Jefferson and Clallam counties have received help so far this year from the Peninsula Daily News' “hand up, not a handout” Peninsula Home Fund.

From Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, the Peninsula Home Fund — a safety net for North Olympic Peninsula residents when there is nowhere else to turn — is seeking contributions for its annual holiday season fundraising campaign.

Beginning Sunday, the Peninsula Daily News will publish stories every Wednesday and Sunday during the campaign listing contributors and reporting on how the fund works.

Peninsula's safety net

Peninsula Home Fund is a unique nonprofit program:

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

Every penny goes to OlyCAP — nonprofit Olympic Community Action Programs — the No. 1 emergency-care agency on the Peninsula.

The money goes to help the most vulnerable members of our community, from infants to families to seniors.

Please note: Because of heavy community demands, the loss of grants because of the dire economy and recent cuts in government funding, OlyCAP beginning this year was permitted to use 10 percent — 10 cents of every dollar donated — to pay for the helping hands who see Home Fund clients.

OlyCAP has kept it below 10 percent — specifically, 8.9 percent

■   The Home Fund is not a welfare program.

Money is used to give families and individuals from Port Townsend to Forks, from Quilcene and Brinnon to Sequim, Joyce and LaPush “a hand up, not a handout” to get through an emergency situation.

Assistance, which usually averages less than $100, is also limited to one time in a 12-month period.

The average amount of help this year was about $57 per family, with no more than one grant from the fund within 12 months.

Money from the 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.

All instances of help are designed to get an individual or family through a crisis — and back on the path to self-sufficiency

Home Fund case managers often work with each individual or family to develop a plan to become financially stable — and avoid a recurrence of the emergency that prompted aid from the fund.

As needed, Peninsula Home Fund contributions are often used in conjunction with money from churches, service clubs and other donors, enabling OlyCAP to stretch the value of the contribution.

The goal again: “a hand up, not a handout.”

■   All contributions are IRS tax-deductible for the year in which the check is written.

■   Your personal information is kept confidential.

The PDN does not rent, sell, give or otherwise share your address or other information with anyone or make any other use of it.

Out of money Dec. 31

Since its beginning in 1989, the fund has been supported entirely by Jefferson and Clallam residents.

Individuals, couples, businesses, churches, organizations and school groups set a new record for contributions in 2011: $254,593.73.

So far, $167,592 has been spent.

And as we move into winter, the toughest period of the year, all of the remaining money is expected to be spent before Dec. 31.

To apply for a Peninsula Home Fund grant, phone OlyCAP at 360-452-4726 (Clallam County) or 360-385-2571 (Jefferson County).

OlyCAP's Port Angeles office is at 228 W. First St., Suite J (Armory Square Mall); 360-452-4726.

Its Port Townsend office is at 803 W. Park Ave.; 360-385-2571.

The Forks/West End office is at 421 Fifth Ave.; 360-374-6193.

OlyCAP's website: www.olycap.org; email: action@olycap.org.

Janet Anderson, OlyCAP's interim executive director, oversees disbursements from the Peninsula Home Fund.

How to donate

From children's pennies to checks for thousands of dollars, the generosity of Peninsula Daily News readers makes a positive difference.

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, write a check to “Peninsula Home Fund” and attach it to the coupon that appears in today's editions of the Peninsula Daliy News.

Mail both items to Peninsula Home Fund, Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

You can also contribute online using a credit card — just click on the Home Fund donation button on the home page.

Again, all contributions are fully IRS tax-deductible.

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

If you have any questions about the fund, phone John Brewer, Peninsula Daily News editor and publisher, at 360-417-3500.

Or email john.brewer@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 21. 2012 7:07PM
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