OlyCap’s Diana Assumpcao has a job she loves: distributing Peninsula Home Fund assistance to young families with children. (Jeannie McMacken/for Peninsula Daily News)

OlyCap’s Diana Assumpcao has a job she loves: distributing Peninsula Home Fund assistance to young families with children. (Jeannie McMacken/for Peninsula Daily News)

Vouchers for daily life: Home Fund helps young families

PORT ANGELES — Diana Assumpcao reached into her file cabinet and pulled out a manila folder bulging with papers, measuring almost three inches thick. A huge smile lit up her face.

“This file holds the stories of over 100 young families who have been helped by the Home Fund just this year,” she proudly announced.

Assumpcao provides family service support for Early Childhood Services at Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCap), including Head Start, Early Head Start, and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) pre-school programs in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

One of her favorite jobs is to administer the Peninsula Home Fund — made up of donations through a Peninsula Daily News campaign and administered by OlyCap — to families with children 5 years old and younger. Most of the parents are young, too, and just starting out.

“My little piece of the Home Fund, as it relates to Head Start, includes providing support to sites in Chimacum, Port Townsend, Sequim, three sites and a home-base program in Port Angeles, and a large site in Forks — where we have 51 kiddos enrolled,” Assumpcao explained.

“Our social services staff works with young families and sets goals. A family might express a need. Staff will call and we’ll talk about what’s going on, what resources are available, and whether the Home Fund would be a good fit for them.”

Assumpcao makes an assessment, and then generates a Home Fund voucher. Most of the time the voucher is written within 24 hours of the request and the families have what they need quickly.

Home Fund vouchers work only with vendors who are willing to accept them.

“We aren’t handing out hundred dollar bills to people,” Assumpcao said.

“It’s an internal control. We know the money is being spent in a responsible way. The voucher is going to a vendor who has to agree to take it … they aren’t getting immediate cash.”

Assumpcao said both independent businesses and corporations have stepped up to take the vouchers for payment.

“We’ve had kids who never slept in beds. Bargain Warehouse in Port Angeles cut us a deal and even delivered them. Mt. Pleasant IGS, a family owned grocery/gas station, is the only place in Port Angeles to get gas with a Home Fund voucher. In Sequim, there’s the 101 Outpost for gas. Cenex in Chimacum is willing to partner.

“In Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles, Les Schwab locations have been wonderful. Things like a car battery can impact whether someone can get their child to a Head Start program or make it to their jobs.

“Walmart has been great, too. We were able to buy a vacuum cleaner for a young mom with a baby who was crawling all over, as most babies do.

“Forks Outfitters is a great community partner for the Home Fund. If they don’t have it, you probably don’t need it. They’ll do groceries, hardware — everything.”

Assumpcao related a story about a young mom in Forks who needed appropriate work clothes for a job. A voucher to Fork Outfitters allowed her to get the outfits and shoes she needed to start her employment.

“We were able to do that for her. It is truly the story of the Home Fund message — a hand up, not a handout.”

Home Fund support also goes to help children who have special medical or dental needs and have to go to clinics in Silverdale or Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“It isn’t cheap to get there from here,” Assumpcao said. “I write gas vouchers so they can make it to those special eye doctors, dentists or that special evaluation they need at Children’s. Public transit would take two days to juggle. I’m always glad to do that for folks.”

She’s provided glasses for families from a local optician; replacement stove burners for a young immigrant who had to adjust her cultural cooking methods to fit an American kitchen; and car repairs from independent shops so moms can get to work or school.

“I have a young mom right now who has no transportation and wants her child to have the Head Start experience. She rides two buses to bring the child to school in the morning, and then she goes home. In the afternoon, she takes two buses to pick up the child. That’s eight times on a bus each day so her child can have a great pre-school education, plus meals, screenings, referrals, and cognitive and emotional screening,” Assumpcao said.

“She’s very committed and her child has stellar attendance. I don’t have a problem writing a voucher for a bus pass for her.”

This is the time of year when many organizations solicit funds. Someone calls at night asking for money. A letter in the mail asks for support. Your email inbox is jammed with requests for cash. Tables are set up outside store entrances with someone asking for donations.

Assumpcao wants you to know that she’s a good steward of your Home Fund contribution.

“We’ve partnered for many years with the Peninsula Daily News, and we hope that you trust us to be mindful and respectful of the money you’ve given and the reasons you’ve given to us.

“The money that you give to the Home Fund stays in your community. It’s given by my friends, my family, and people that I know,” she said.

“My parents were born here; I’m a local girl. I know who you are. I see you in the grocery store and I know you’ve helped. I know that you know I have that ethic, and I’m not squandering what you’ve given.”

She points out that we are fortunate to live in our generous communities, no matter the size of the gift.

“It’s five bucks here, 20 bucks there, a hundred, and more, too. Look at how the Home Fund has grown over the years. I hope the community realizes the value of helping your neighbor, and the Home Fund is a really great way to do it.

“It might not be as glamorous as getting your name on a plaque, or as tangible as seeing your name on a building or floor tile,” Assumpcao continued, “but you’re doing that highest level of giving from your heart — not knowing who receives your gift.”

“We all want to see a better Clallam County and a better Jefferson County, and I truly believe in giving locally. Grass-roots change is the way to make that happen. I wouldn’t have worked in nonprofits for the past 30 years if I didn’t believe that.”

Assumpcao is steadfast in the mission of the Home Fund and is confident that the cycle of giving will continue.

“If I can give just a little hand up to these young kids, they are the ones who will keep this community going. It’s important to help them now so they can pay it forward to others in the future.”

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 $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.

OlyCAP’s website: www.olycap.org; email: [email protected]

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 Dec. 7-13.

Name and amount

• Christina Gutmacher, Joyce, $200.

• Dick and Gayle Larson, Sequim, $50.

• Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Gilkeson, Sequim, $100.

• Ron and Judy Priest, Sequim, $100.

• Darryl Huddleston, Sequim, $100. In memory of Chris.

• Becky and Earl Archer, Sequim, $200.

• Edith Snelgrove, Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Patsy Hart and David and Martha Pitts.

• Donald L. Claussen and Pat Beltz, Sequim, $50.

• Marcia and Bob Homer, Sequim, $100. In honor of Trevor Homer.

• Donald Schreiner, Sequim, $200. In honor of Gwen.

• Hansi Hals and Tom Butler, Port Angeles, $50.

• Jane and Randy Priest, Sequim, $100.

• LaVonne and Bill Mueller, Sequim, $250.

• Ann Kennedy, Port Angeles, $100. In honor of Jesus Christ.

• Fred Sullivan, Walnut Creek, Calif., $100.

• Ruth and Norbert Karr, Chimacum, $100.

• Jack and Maecel Foote, Port Angeles, $25.

• Janine Moore, Forks, $50.

• Jeff Shamp, Port Angeles, $300.

• Riley and Ann Bigler, Sequim, $100.

• Richard Larson, Sequim, $50.

Name only

• April Kilgore and Monroe Stringham, Port Angeles.

• Maura and Roger Oakes, Port Angeles.

• Sandy Larson, Port Townsend.

• Joseph Cress and Elaine Peaslee, Sequim. In memory of Jenny Cress.

• Bill and Sharon Alton, Port Angeles.

• Doug Timmons, Port Angeles.

• Roger Eichman, Nordland.

• Lee Roberts, Port Angeles. In memory of Dan Roberts Sr.

• Mark and Patty Hannah, Port Angeles.

• John Gepner Family, Port Angeles.

• Randi and Heather Hansen, Port Angeles. In memory of Phyllis. It’s been 15 yrs since you left. Still missing you, my friend.

• Nick and Sandy Larson, Port Angeles. In memory of Fred and Bob Michalscheck.

• Ross and Laurie D’Alessandro, Sequim.

• Barb and Mack Boelling, Port Townsend.

• Marilynn and Larry Elliott, Sequim.

• Herb and Marolyn Russell, Port Angeles. In loving memory of Will and Carolyn Muller.

• Kathleen Balducci, Port Angeles. In memory of Bal and our parents.

• Fred and Carol Royce, Port Angeles.

• Eve M. Farrell, Port Angeles. In memory of Dan J. Farrell.

• Glen Robards Jr., Sequim.

• John Dolansky. Sequim.

• Allison and Edward Berry Unthank, Sequim.

• David Chance, Port Angeles. In honor of family, friends and traditions.

• Una Walker, Vancouver, Wash. In memory of mom and dad.

• Steven McCreary, Port Townsend.

• Jerry Fisch, Sequim.

• Ross and Vee Canning, Port Angeles.

• Helen Kullman, Port Townsend.

• Robert and Sheila Becker, Port Angeles.

• Jack and Jan Tatom, Sequim. In honor of military men and women.

• Wayne and Claudia Barrett, Port Angeles.

• Roy and Marilyn Brown, Marquette, Mich.

• Mike and Patti Brandt, Sequim. In honor of Mildred Brame.

• Patricia Touchie, Sequim. In honor of Merrill Jefferson and Kathryn Holmstrom.

• Sam and Martha Baker, Port Angeles.

• Emogene Herb, Sequim. In memory of Jay and Randy Herb.

• Marilyn Whidden, Port Angeles. In memory of Charles, my love, and Frank Belmont, loving son-in-law.

• Nada Johnson, Port Angeles.

• Richard Serkes, Port Angeles.

• Althea Soest, Sequim.

• Mike and Linda Peters, Port Ludlow.

• Neil and Jaqueline Eklund, Sequim.

• Bette Wood, Port Angeles.

• Ann Chang, Port Angeles. In honor of my amazing family.

• Jill Blake, Sequim.

• Rich and Carol Norseen, Sequim.

• Michael Turner and Cindy Johnson, Port Townsend. In memory of Tamara Turner.

• James and Lucy Kittrick, Port Angeles.

• Mary Gotham, Port Angeles.

• Yvette Cline, Port Angeles. In honor of the staff of Peninsula College’s Early Childhood Development Center.

• Valerie Johnstone, Port Townsend.

• Steve and Sandy Munger, Port Angeles. In memory of Matthew.

• Juanita Weissenfels, Forks. In memory of Liz Brown.

• JoAnne Hughes, Port Angeles.

• Del and Kris Cadwallader, Port Angeles. In memory of our crazy brother, Scott Tryon. Miss you, kid. In honor of all our military. God bless.

• Katherine Hennessey, Port Angeles.

• Rose Crumb, Port Angeles. In memory of Red Crumb.

• Suzanne Orr, Port Angeles.

• Hazel Vail, Port Angeles. In memory of Ken Vail.

• Ron and Cathy Grant, Sequim.

• Deanna McHenry, Port Angeles. In memory of John, Oma and Granny.

• Rita Marston, Port Angeles. In loving memory of my husband, Don Marston.

• Gerald and Charoltte Pierce, Sequim.

• Bill and Robin Bains, Port Angeles.

• Terry and Patty Barlow, Port Angeles.

• Ron and Michele Fraker, Port Angeles.

• Don W. Stoneman, Port Angeles. In honor of Helen M. Stoneman.

• Gene and Ann Trelstad, Port Angeles.

• Voneda Stiewe, Chimacum.

• Robert and Hayes Wasilewski, Port Angeles.

• Tom and Sandi Shields, Sequim.

• Beverly Rich, Port Townsend.

• Homer and Karla Muto, Port Angeles.

• William McCorkle, Sequim.

• D. E. Prince, Sequim.

• Michael Witkin, Port Angeles.

• Joan Gloor, Port Angeles.

• Heather Peters, Chimacum. In memory of Ellsworth “Pete” Peters.

• Heather Peters, Chimacum. In memory of Jack and Betty Phillips.

• Anne and Vincent Murray, Port Angeles.

• Charlie Byrd, Sequim. In honor of Karen Byrd.

• Jerry Macomber, Sequim.

• Carol Philpott, Port Angeles. In memory of Bob Philpott.

• Jim Sanderson, Carlsborg. In memory of Prosper Ostrowski.

• Fran Whelan, Sequim.

• C. Wiley, Port Angeles.

• Richard and Pamela Ehtee, Port Angeles.

• Ray and Jane Erickson, Port Hadlock.

• Stella Kowal, Sequim. In memory of Steve K.

• Jack and Janet Real, Sequim.

• Jim and Jane Ratliff, Sequim.

• Dorothy West, Sequim. In memory of Earl M. West.

• Dan and Vicki Pierson, Port Angeles.

• Marcia Fagin, Sequim. In memory of my elders.

• Bill and Joan Riedel, Sekiu. In honor of Ginger Haberman and Betty Soderlind.

• Kathryn Anderson, Port Angeles. In memory of Don and Dorothy Goralski.

• Bob Walthers and Nancy Johnson, Port Townsend.

• Dick and Dottie Foster, Port Angeles.

• Olympic Springs Inc., Carlsborg.

• Barbara Erler and Mel Perricone, Sequim. In memory of Jim Dow and Jim Harlan.

• Ron and Kathi Larsen, Sequim.

• Barbara and John Cameron, Sequim.

• Don and Barbara Smith, Port Townsend.

• Michael and Patricia Moore, Sequim.

• Doris J. Chiasson, Port Angeles. In memory of John T. “Jack” Chiasson.

• Harriet Angulo, Port Angeles.

• Susan Cange, Sequim.

• Claudia and Rich Fox, Sequim. In memory of Dan Holmquist.

• Lew and Nora Polizzi, Sequim.

• Judith Pape, Port Angeles. In honor of Bob Sheridan.

• Deborah Cox, Sequim.

• Kelly Fisher, Port Angeles.

Anonymous

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Angeles, $100.

Sequim, $120. In memory of our mothers and fathers.

• Port Angeles, $50. In honor of our two sons, Richard and Robert.

• Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Robin.

• Sequim, $50.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Angeles, $250.

• Sequim, $500.

• Port Townsend, $100. In memory of my husband.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Sequim, $50.

• Sequim, $200.

• Sequim, $50.

• Sequim, $500.

• Sequim, $400.

• Port Angeles, $25.

• Port Townsend, $100.

• Sequim, $50.

• Sequim, $1,000.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Townsend, $100. In memory of Kenneth.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $300.

• Sequim, $60.

• Port Angeles, $50. In honor of Larry Kelly.

• Port Angeles, $250. In honor of Valerie.

• Port Townsend, $200.

• No address, $1,000.

• Sequim, $100. In honor of our veterans and family members with serious health issues.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $500.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Townsend, $100.

• Port Angeles, $30.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Port Townsend, $100.

• Port Angeles, $20.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Sequim, $50.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Port Angeles, $50. In memory of Bobby.

• Sequim, $200. In memory of Timothy McCormick.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Port Angeles, $100. In honor of Gilbert D. Smith.

• Sequim, $300.

• Sequim, $200.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Port Angeles, $252.

• San Francisco, $1,000.

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