PENINSULA HOME FUND: Helping mom, son recovering from brain surgery turn heat back on in ‘little yellow house’

Lael Richards and her son

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.

Today, we feature another in a series of articles on how the fund operates and who benefits from our readers’ generosity.

More information about the Home Fund will appear on Wednesday, Christmas Day.

To donate online by credit card, click on

CHIMACUM — Each person you help through the Peninsula Home Fund has a story.

Some stories are simple; some are complex.

All represent people in need, and the community’s caring response.

The Richards’ story

For the last three years, Lael Richards had been taking care of her mother as a full-time, live-in caregiver.

She was staying with her mom at the home of her mother’s partner.

When Lael’s mom died in May, Lael moved back into her mom’s “little yellow house on 101.”

The tenants occupying that home had left it a disaster.

The squatters who came afterward made it worse.

The water pipe had broken long ago, and there was no power.

It was cold and damp when Lael, 50, and Jaimeson, her 20-year-old son, moved back.

“Several big dump runs later, we had a room to sleep in,” said Lael.

“My best friend mended the broken pipe and fixed the fuse box.”

This made living in the house almost bearable.

Then, in September, came new brain surgery for Jaimeson at Children’s Hospital in Seattle.

He has remained a patient there on and off since an operation to remove a slow-growing non-cancerous tumor when he was 10 months old.

For two weeks after his surgery, mom and son stayed at the hospital for the critical phase of his recovery.

When they returned to the little, yellow house, there was no money to buy propane for the heater.

They tried to endure together, providing support and comfort to each other as the days grew colder and darker.

Jaimeson was not recovering as well as he should.

The damp environment didn’t help.

He left his mother to stay with friends to try to get better.

“It was so cold, we could see our breath when we talked,” explains Lael.

“All of my money was going toward back taxes and probate costs to save Mama’s little house,” her fixed income from Social Security was not covering living expenses.

Although Jaimeson is in constant risk of seizures, his mother said he does not qualify for state disability payments.

In November, through neighbors, they were put in contact with the Port Townsend office of OlyCAP — Olympic Community Action Programs, the No. 1 emergency-care agency in Jefferson and Clallam counties.

It 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.”

Tapping the Home Fund, Rainy Blankenship of OlyCap gave them a $150 voucher for propane, a $40 voucher for gas and $20 for laundry.

Blankenship also arranged for the propane to be hooked up.

The next day, after coping with traffic, ferries and a follow-up hospital appointment for Jaimeson, Lael and her son came home from Seattle.

It was dark. The mercury was below freezing.

“We were really cold,” Lael recalled in her matter of fact way.

They turned on the heat.

Slowly, as they stopped shivering, the house grew warm.

“We are so very grateful to the people who donate [to the Home Fund] to warm the houses of people like my son and I when the outside temperature is 26 degrees,” said Lael.

“It’s just nice to stand by the propane heater,” said Jaimeson.

Their immediate crisis past thanks to the Home Fund, mother and son are still working on making ends meet and continuing issues over the house.

But they have friends, Jaimeson is on the mend from his surgery — and Lael has scraped together enough to purchase a woodstove.

Once it is installed, she hopes the cold will never again become a painful reality for her and her son.

‘Hand up, not a handout’

The PDN’s 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.

‘A hand up, not a handout’

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, from infants to families to seniors.

Peninsula Home Fund is not a welfare program.

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 has been $69.86 per family.

But even though the dollar figures are small, the impact can be big, in huge, life-changing ways.

And, as needed, Peninsula Home Fund donations are also used in conjunction with money from churches, service clubs and other donors, enabling OlyCAP to stretch the value of the contribution.

The fund is not set up to hand out money passively.

The Home Fund staff’s most important goal is to get the individual or family through a crisis.

Whenever possible, case managers 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.

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

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

(See accompanying box.)

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:

Email: [email protected]

Geoff Crump, OlyCAP’s executive director, oversees disbursements from the Peninsula Home Fund. He can be reached at 360-385-2571 or by emailing [email protected]

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

Or email [email protected]

Contributions so far

The Peninsula Daily News publishes the donation coupon and information about the fund every Sunday and Wednesday during the fundraising campaign.

While most of the money is raised between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31, the fund itself never closes.

Donations of any amount are always welcome.

Below is a list of donors whose contributions were processed between Dec. 12 and Dec. 17.

Thank you very much for making a difference in the lives — and futures — of your neighbors like the Richards:

■ Eugene D. Haugen, Sequim — $100. In memory of June Marie Haugen.

■   Olympic Peninsula Base, United States Submarine Veterans, Inc., Chimacum — $100.

■ Class of 1954, Port Angeles — $90.

■ Boulay Family Trust, Port Townsend — $200.

■ Wayne and Lois Bozarth, Port Angeles — $100.

■ Ann Kennedy, Port Angeles — $100. In memory of Gayle Booth.

■ Ray and Jane Erickson, Port Hadlock — $50.

■ Sonje Beal, Syracuse, Utah — $200. In memory of Craig Baughman, son of Bill Baughman of Sequim.

■ Karen Eisenstadt, Sequim —$200. In memory of that amazing Violet O’Dell (11 when she died last year). She inspired, brain cancer research, and loved to help wherever she could.

■ Mary Lou Melly, Port Angeles — $100. In honor of Peninsula College Children’s Programs. Thank you to all the wonderful staff at the Peninsula College Educare Center, Early Childhood Education Program and the Family Life Program. You make me want to go to work each morning. Thanks for all you do for children and families in our community.

■ Richard Larson, Sequim — $50.

■ Margie Movius, Port Angeles — $113. In honor of the Port Angeles Fire Department’s “Medic Crew.” Thank you!!

■ Margie Movius, Port Angeles — $113. In memory of my daughter, Beverly J. Rice.

■ Margie Movius, Port Angeles — $113. In memory of my son, Paul J. Raber.

■ Margie Movius, Port Angeles — $113. In memory of my nephew, Patrick W. (Pat) Rose.

■ Margie Movius, Port Angeles — $61. In honor of Phillip Downer, M.D., of Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle. Dr. Downer is one of only a few physicians in the Pacific Northwest who performs hip surgery using the anterior approach. This new procedure offers patients quicker steps to recovery and makes small incision surgery an option for more patients.

■ Cliff Vining, Sequim —$100.

■ Richard and Kandi Lohneis, Beaver — $100. In memory of our parents.

■ Paul and Sharon Martin, Port Angeles — $100. In memory of Helen S. Martin.

■ Jane and Randy Priest, Sequim — $100.

■ Marc Reinertson, Port Angeles — $100.

■ Edith Snelgrove, Port Angeles — $100. In honor of David and Martha.

■ Olympic Lodge No. 37, Sons of Norway, Port Angeles — $100.

■ Team Thomsen, Realtors, Port Angeles — $100.

■ Marty and Beverly Clark, Port Ludlow — $100.

■ Ray Weinmann, Port Angeles — $200.

Many thanks also to these donors (who requested that the amount of their donation be kept private):

■ Green Crow Employees Foundation, Port Angeles.

■ Bryce and Gail Fish, Sequim

■ Bob and Barbara Gray, Port Townsend. In honor of OlyCap. PDN, thanks for all you do. This program has to be a model for every hometown newspaper in America.

■ Darold and Kay Seed, Port Angeles.

■ Irene N. Irvine and Dick Goodman, Port Angeles.

■ Jeff and Barb Dixon, Port Angeles. In memory of friends and family.

■ Linda Button, Port Angeles. In honor of Pat Lang.

■ Stanley R. and Mary Lou Johann, Sequim.

■ Larry and Darla Kalsbeek, Sequim. In memory of Kim Kalsbeek.

■ Marcia and Bob Homer, Sequim.

■ James and Mary Jane Moore, Sequim. In lieu of Christmas gifts to our siblings.

■ Margaret Edris, Port Angeles. In memory of Monica, Gene and Carol.

■ Marjorie McDonald, Port Angeles. In honor of Alice Russell, Phyllis McDonald, Lucia McDonald, Jean Brandland and George McDonald.

■ Leslie Campbell, Port Angeles.

■ Rilla Demorest, Port Angeles.

■ Brooke and Diane Taylor, Port Angeles.

■ Del and Kris Cadwallader, Port Angeles. In memory of Robert (Bob) Wilkins, Cheryl Johnson, Harry “Boone” Garbor: loving family and friends lost in 2013. And in honor of our military: Thank You.

■ Leighton and Sharon Clark, Port Angeles. In memory of our parents.

■ Lucy E. Willis, Sequim.

■ AMS Audio Enterprises, Inc., Sequim.

■ Dana and Sally Dolloff, Jacksonville, Fla.

■ Steve and Gwyn Callis, Port Angeles.

■ Roy and Mary Gotham, Port Angeles.

■ Frederic Robinson, Sequim.

■ Dan and Patricia Nellis, Sequim. In memory of Martha Lohr.

■ A. Kinney, Sequim.

■ Don and Vickie Hinrichsen, Port Angeles.

■ Hazel Vail, Port Angeles. In memory of Carol Chapman.

■ Joanna Baker, Port Angeles. In memory of Harrison “Bud” Baker Jr. and Piper Inness Cameron.

■ Richard and Elizabeth Geddes, Port Angeles.

■ Steven and Marta Allen, Sequim.

■ Roger Paynter, Port Angeles. In honor of Roger and Kay Paynter

■ Theresa Webster, Sequim.

■ G.A. Hubbard, Port Ludlow

■ Millie Lawson, Sequim. In memory of Bill Lawson.

■ Jon and Elizabeth Valentine, Sequim.

■ Mary Lou Melly, Port Angeles. In memory of Dorothy Melly. We miss you greatly, but memories of you will warm our hearts during this holiday season. — Chris, Mary Lou, Jacob, Geoff and Laura.

■ Bill and Sarah Tozier, Port Angeles. Best wishes for peace and health this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

■ Dan and Ester Darrow, Port Ludlow.

■ Roger and Maura Oakes, Port Angeles. In honor of our parents.

■ Chris Spirz, Port Angeles.

■ Donald and Barbara Reidel, Port Angeles. In memory of our parents, Max and Sylvia Reidel and Arthur and Armada Dixon.

■ Mary K. Otto, Port Angeles. In memory of Si Otto.

■ Katherine Johnson, Bainbridge Island.

■ Chris and Myrna Juergens, Sequim.

■ Rick and Margaret Yates, Port Angeles.

■ Naomi Marcus, Port Townsend. In honor of Port Townsend residents.

■ Dolores Mangano, Port Angeles.

■ Deborah Willis, Port Angeles. In memory of Mon, Dad and Derek.

■ Marilyn Whidden, Port Angeles. In memory of Charles Whidden.

■ The Jahns Family, Port Angeles.

■ Rita Heywood, Sequim.

■ Mitch Poling and Sandra Smith-Poling, M.D., Port Townsend.

■ Rob and Cindy Tulloch, Port Angeles.

■ Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Klein, Sequim.

■ Karin and Jacob Dethlefs, Sequim.

■ Sue Priddy and Allen Herlyck, Port Townsend.

■ Irene and Jim Rexroat, Port Angeles.

■ Richard D. Macdonald, Port Ludlow.

■ Steve Torgesen and Connie Kinyon, Sequim.

■ Sally and Stan Garlick, Port Angeles. In memory of Robert L. Wilcox.

■ Lucille M. Peet, Port Angeles.

■ Carol Philpott, Port Angeles.

■ Pamela and Richard Ehtee, Port Angeles.

■ Ruth Messing, Sequim. I was moved to give again this year after reading article in today’s paper about how you gave gift certificates to Goodwill for back to school clothes. I’m so sick and tired of organizations asking for “new” items.

■ Emery and Lila Winters, Port Angeles. In memory of our parents, Maxine Willis and Emery and Nancy Winters.

■ Dale and LaRue Robirts, Sequim. In honor of Andrew Robirts.

■ John and Kathy Schreiner, Sequim.

■ Glenn and Betty Armstrong, Sequim.

■ Carmelinda Wiley, Port Angeles.

■ Andrew Stevenson and Chris Gutmacher, Port Angeles.

■ Myra B. Lovett, Port Angeles.

■ Ingrid Lehrer, Sequim.

■ Larry and Nancy Fox, Port Angeles.

■ Alta Wilson, Port Angeles.

■ Lois Myren, Port Angeles. In memory of Budd Myren.

■ Jack and Jan Tatom, Sequim. In memory of Carol Coleman.

■ Randy and Cindy Mesenbrink, Forks. In honor of Ross Canning and Vee Dryver for their January 1st wedding. Congratulations!

■ Art and Ruth Dewey, Sequim. In memory of Ed and Mary Dewey, Harry and Marion Traylor

■ Richard and Sally Ruud, Port Angeles.

■ Merilee Clunis and Margaret Schonfield, Port Townsend.

■ Barbara Erler and Mel Perricone, Sequim.

■ Lois McGuire, Sequim. In honor of Chuck McGuire.

■ Sharon and Alton Mattioli, Port Townsend. In memory of Aunt Phyl.

■ Ron Little and Agnes Bell-Little, Sequim.

■ Kay Young, Port Townsend.

■ Jerry R. and Margaret J. King, Forks. In memory of Valgene Bunker and Irwin King.

■ Dorothy Phillips, Port Angeles. In memory of my close friends, Jerry Kochanek and Susan Schultz.

■ Larry and Pat Ledbetter, Port Angeles. In memory of family and friends.

■ Robin G and Gabriel E. Ornelas, Port Townsend.

■ Suzanne W Hadley, Port Angeles. In memory of Rory Hadley. Heshared unbounded joy always.

■ Grace Wanrow, Sequim. In memory of Michael Wanrow.

■ Andi and Don Taylor, Sequim.

Many thanks also to these donors (who requested anonymity):

■ Port Angeles — $200.

■ Port Townsend — $75.

■ (No name or city given, only a note saying this was “God’s Tithe”) — $1,744.

■ Sequim — $50.

■ Port Angeles — $20.

■ Port Angeles — $50.

■ Sequim — $450.

■ Sequim — $25.

■ Port Angeles — $35.

■ Port Angeles — $150.

■ Port Angeles — $160.

■ Carlsborg — $500.

■ Sequim — $25.

■ Port Angeles — $100.

■ Carlsborg — $100.

■ Anonymous — $20.

■ Port Ludlow — $1,000.

■ Sequim — $10.

■ Port Angeles — $500.

■ Sequim — $10.

■ Sequim — $100.

■ Sequim — $50.

■ Port Angeles — $500.

■ Sequim — $200. In honor of Cousin Fred.

■ Port Angeles — $300. In honor of Tim, Dorothy, Lillian.

■ Port Angeles — $20.

■ Sequim — $25.

■ Port Townsend — $200.

■ Port Townsend $300.

■ Port Angeles — $50.

■ Port Angeles — $100.

■ Port Angeles — $25. In honor of Casey and Nina Rumore.

■ Port Angeles — $250.

■ Sequim — $50. In memory of John F.

■ Port Angeles — $20.

■ Sequim — $100.

■ Port Angeles — $50. In memory of Dean Palmer.

■ Port Townsend — $200.

■ Quilcene — $30. In memory of Ann, Al and Hunter.

■ Sequim — $100.

■ Port Angeles — $25.

■ Sequim — $65.

■ Sequim — $100.

■ Sequim — $50.

■ Sequim — $1,000.

■ Port Angeles — $50.


HANDWRITING CAN BE hard to decipher at times.

Please report any errors in this list to John Brewer, 360-417-3500 (there’s voice mail if he’s away), or email him at [email protected]

We’ll rerun the listing correctly.

Our sincerest appreciation again to our donors.

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