PENINSULA HOME FUND: A hand up for love

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
https://secure.peninsuladailynews.com/homefund.

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 https://secure.peninsuladailynews.com/homefund.


By Zorina Barker
For Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Love at first sight does not pay the bills.

“I saw him and just knew I was in love,” says Megan Mason, 24, of her first encounter with Alan Smith, 31.

They were introduced to each other at her sister's house a little more than a year before. Now, they were pulling together to prepare for their baby's birth.

Alan, a Navy veteran, works as an electronic medical records tutor for a Portland, Ore., company.

“I help doctors and nurses understand the new programs, and I help out with implementing the programs,” Alan explains.

His job frequently takes him out of the area for weeks at a time: He travels from Longview to Spokane and as far away as Montana.

“He's all over the place,” says Megan.

She had been working as a cook for a retirement community before she was medically advised to quit working four months into her pregnancy.

Through the summer, they had been living in a leaky cabin in the woods — and now, as the trees shed their foliage colors, it was getting colder and colder.

Alan's work also became more hit-and-miss.

As such, there was never enough money to consider moving to a warmer, drier home for their baby.

“We had almost no money, and it was extremely difficult to straighten things out because of furloughs and people not being in their offices,” he explained.

Megan's doctor was in Silverdale — and she couldn't afford the gas to get there for her baby's delivery.

With their financial fissures growing, Megan and Alan contacted the state Department of the Veterans Affairs. They were referred to OlyCAP — nonprofit Olympic Community Action Programs, the No. 1 emergency-care agency in Jefferson and Clallam counties.

OlyCAP manages the Home Fund for the PDN, screens the applicants, carefully disburses the funds and provides life-changing counseling and services to those who need a “hand up, not a handout.”

Working with Home Fund counselors, they got a gas voucher for the trip to Silverdale, where baby Owen was delivered.

They also received $150 from the Home Fund to pay an overdue utility bill and, with other aid, were able to move out of the cabin in the woods.

Economic tremors are still rumbling, but they are now in a warm and more affordable home, and they are moving forward with little Owen — and also plan to get married soon.

They thank the generous donors to the Home Fund and the counselors who got them through their emergency.

“Money in this economy is hard to come by, so to get this help is really appreciated,” Alan said.

Said Megan: “Thank you. We are grateful, and the help is appreciated.”

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; keeping the heat on, home repairs, clothing, furniture, food, rent and other essentials for a low-income family; needed prescription drugs; dental work; safe, drug-free temporary housing; eyeglasses — the list goes on and on.

3,100 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 3,100 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.

All contributions are fully IRS tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which a check is written.

Your personal information also 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.

Applying for a grant

To apply for a Peninsula Home Fund grant, contact one of the three OlyCAP offices:

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

Its Port Townsend office is at 823 Commerce Loop; 360-385-2571. For Jefferson County residents.

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

Leave a message in the voice mail box at any of the three numbers, and a Home Fund caseworker will phone you back.

OlyCAP's website: www.olycap.org.

Email: action@olycap.org.

Geoff Crump, OlyCAP's executive director, oversees disbursements from the Peninsula Home Fund. He can be reached at 360-385-2571 or by emailing gcrump@olypen.com.

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

Or email jbrewer@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 12. 2013 10:28PM
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