By Jeannie McMacken
for Peninsula Daily News
PORT HADLOCK — Marie Cota knew she had a serious problem.
What do you do when you finally accept that the only toilet in your home isn’t functional anymore?
“I tried fixing it myself with off-the-shelf kits but I couldn’t make it work,” she said. “I had friends help, even my mother…none of us could get it operating properly.”
So she started making calls to professionals who identified the problems. To her dismay, Cota discovered her leaky old toilet hid other issues. It all added up to one very big expense.
“A plumber’s hourly rate was not in my budget for the work that needed to be done,” she lamented.
“A flooring company said my sub-floor as well as my vinyl floor needed to be replaced because of major water damage.”
Then she remembered Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCap) and the Peninsula Home Fund.
Cota contributed to the good work OlyCap does for the community while serving as a volunteer at the former OlyCap Thrift Store in Port Hadlock for six years. She also was the beneficiary of a winterization program a few years back.
She knew it was time to get some assistance and made the call.
“OlyCap got to it in a hurry because, frankly, it had become an immediate need at that point.”
A Peninsula Home Fund voucher helped with the cost of the job.
“I found an awesome handyman referred by the hardware store,” Cota said. “Mark replaced the sub-flooring, laminate flooring, plumbing parts and installed the new toilet.
“It took him several hours over a couple days and that would have cost me a lot more money than the original estimates.”
Everything works well and Cota is grateful.
“I just don’t know how I could have gotten it done without assistance from OlyCap” and the Peninsula Home Fund.
“I’m a happy girl. It’s a gift to have this fund available for these types of unexpected things.”
When Cota moved into her home a few years ago, she learned of OlyCap’s weatherization program.
“Four men spent five hours staying busy all that time doing things I didn’t realize needed to be done,” she said.
“They insulated windows, installed a fan in the bathroom to help with venting, replaced a dryer hose that was not a tight fit, changed filters and gave me energy-efficient light bulbs,” she said.
“Yes, it saves me money each month. And I’m grateful.”
“OlyCap is the best part of our little community,” she explains. “From the front desk reception staff to everyone you talk to, even the events they put on, they really care about helping people. It’s genuine.”
Peninsula’s safety net
The Peninsula Home Fund — a safety net for local residents when they suddenly face an emergency situation and can’t find help elsewhere — is seeking contributions for its annual holiday season fundraising campaign.
From Port Townsend to Forks, from Quilcene and Brinnon to Sequim and LaPush, money from the fund is used for hot meals for seniors; 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.
• Assistance usually averages less than $100. The average amount of help this year has been $62 per person.
The maximum allowance per year is $350 per household.
• 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.”
• No money is deducted by the Peninsula Daily News for administration fees or any other overhead.
Every penny goes to OlyCAP.
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 economy and recent cuts in government funding, OlyCAP beginning in 2012 was permitted to use 10 percent — 10 cents of every dollar donated — to pay for the vital programs and services for Home Fund clients. (Previously there were no deductions.)
• All contributions are IRS tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which the check is written.
Your personal information is kept confidential.
PDN and OlyCAP do not rent, sell, give or otherwise share your address or other information with anyone or make any other use of it.
Since its beginning in 1989, the fund has relied on the support of Jefferson and Clallam residents.
Using the $264,486 contributed to the Peninsula Home Fund in 2016, OlyCAP had helped 3,400 people from Jan. 1 to Nov. 9.
The remaining funding of f $26,402 will continue to help your friends and neighbors on the Peninsula through the middle of January — when 2017 donations will begin to offer a lifeline in 2018.
How to apply for a Home Fund 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.
Contributions so far
A number of generous individuals and organizations have been donating money to the Peninsula Home Fund since the first of the year.
While most of the money is raised between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31, the fund itself never closes.
Donations of any amount are always welcome.
To donate online by credit card, click on https://secure.peninsuladailynews.com/homefund.
Here is a list of donors whose Home Fund contributions were processed during the week of Nov. 21-29:
NAME AND AMOUNT
•Jay F. Burcham, Port Townsend, $200. In loving memory of my wife, Shirl.
•John Brewer, Port Angeles, $350. In honor of the hard-working staffers of the Peninsula Daily News.
•Dianne Williams, Port Angeles, $25. In memory of my siblings, Jeannette, Steve and Ron.
•Robert Zech, Port Angeles, $100.
•Richard and Kandi Lohneis, Beaver, $200. In memory of our parents.
•William and Lynnette Baughman, Sequim, $200. In memory of Craig Baughman.
•Exxon Mobil Foundation, Princeton, N.J. Matching gift from Stanley Johann.
•Josephine W. Pedersen, Port Angeles.
•Hoch Construction Inc., Port Angeles.
•Olympic Springs Inc., Carlsborg.
•Laura J. Dubois, Sequim.
•Doug Platten, Port Angeles.
•Diane Wheeler, Port Angeles.
•Bill and Barb Pearl, Port Angeles.
•RD and Diane Kentizer, Sequim.
•John and Nancy Jost, Sequim.
•Jim and Marci Thomsen, Port Angeles. In memory of Dan Donahue.
•Beth McGuffin, Sequim.
•Dale and Punky Doran, Port Angeles. In memory of family and friends.
•The Darrow Family, Port Ludlow.
•Diane Kaufman, Port Angeles.
•Joan Morrish, Port Angeles. In memory of my son, Bert Raber, 10 years gone but not forgotten.
•Dan and Patricia Nellis, Sequim. In honor of Martha Lohr.
•Eldora Peterson, Port Angeles.
•Sue and C.V. Tondreau, Sequim.
•Russell Hesselman, Port Angeles. In memory of Sandra and Scott Hesselman.
•John and Renee Jones, Sequim.
•Charles A. Brown, Port Angeles.
•$100, Port Angeles.
•$50, Port Angeles.
•$200, Port Angeles.
•$100, Port Angeles.
Even the best handwriting can be hard to decipher at times.
Please report any errors in this list to 360-452-2345. We’ll rerun the listing correctly. Our sincerest appreciation again to our donors.
If you have any questions about the fund, phone Terry R. Ward, PDN publisher, at 360-417-3500.