Peninsula Home Fund kicks off fundraising campaign

Sometimes it’s the little things that loom the largest.

Your budget’s tight but you’re making it, barely — and then an unexpected car repair leaves you short on the rent.

You’re proud of making your available cash stretch to cover school clothes and supplies for your children — and then one loses the glasses that are essential for him to read and keep up with schoolwork.

You got that job — but now you lack appropriate work clothes or a bus pass to get to work.

What do you do?

On the North Olympic Peninsula, generous residents create a safety net for their neighbors, donating what they can to the Peninsula Daily News’ “hand up, not a handout” Peninsula Home Fund.

Donations collected by the PDN go to Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP), the No. 1 emergency-care agency in Clallam and Jefferson counties, where case workers screen applicants and carefully distribute the funds.

Using the $255,468 contributed to the Peninsula Home Fund in 2015, OlyCAP had helped 2,994 individuals — 1,045 households on the Peninsula — through the end of October.

The remaining funding of $51,361 will continue to help your friends and neighbors on the Peninsula through the middle of January — when 2016 donations will begin to offer a lifeline in 2017.

From today to New Year’s Eve, the Peninsula Home Fund is seeking contributions for its 27th annual holiday fundraising campaign.

A little can mean a lot. The average amount given per person this year has been $68.17. The average amount per household has been $195.32.

The Home Fund offers an essential bridge when things just don’t match up so people can go on with being or becoming productive members of society and improving their lives.

During this season’s campaign, the PDN will tell you about how much a little can mean.

We’ll tell you about the artist who could no longer work without new glasses, the 86-year-old woman who needed a new water heater to continue her self-sufficient life and the homeless veteran who was helped with gas vouchers and tires and now is working hard on big dreams.

In stories published Wednesdays and Sundays, the PDN also will list contributors and report how the fund works.

Just as gifts from the Home Fund are small — the cap is $350 — donations don’t have to be large.

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.

It creates a safety net for North Olympic Peninsula residents when there is nowhere else to turn.

It is also 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, which uses it 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.)

OlyCAP has kept it in the area of 8 percent, a fraction of the average overhead of other nonprofits.

• 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.

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 to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which the check is written.

Your personal information is kept confidential.

PDN does 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.

How to apply

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.

Dale Wilson, OlyCAP’s executive director, oversees disbursements from the Peninsula Home Fund.

How to donate

To donate, write a check to “Peninsula Home Fund” and attach it to the coupon that appears in today’s PDN.

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

If you have any questions about the fund, phone the PDN at 360-452-2345.

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

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