Amilalupe Aguilar and her daughter Macha, 5, reunite with their Chevy Blazer following extensive repairs done at Peninsula College’s auto shop. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Amilalupe Aguilar and her daughter Macha, 5, reunite with their Chevy Blazer following extensive repairs done at Peninsula College’s auto shop. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

College student gets a hand: Home Fund, Peninsula College aid in repairing vehicle

EDITOR’S NOTE: For 28 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.

To donate online by credit card, visit https://secure. fund.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz

For Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — This job will cost you $2,000, said the auto mechanic. Your rig’s brakes, suspension and steering need a lot of work.

“I just about had a heart attack,” recalled Amilalupe Aguilar, who is too young to suffer such a thing.

So her Chevy Blazer, the vehicle she uses to transport herself and her daughter to and from school, was out of service. A full-time Peninsula College student and single parent, Aguilar didn’t have two grand lying around.

“I don’t mind walking,” she said, even if it’s about 35 minutes each way from her apartment to the college campus. She also walks her daughter Macha home from kindergarten, a shorter distance. Then there’s grocery shopping and going to the laundromat. Sometimes, her little girl needed a break, so Aguilar would wheel her in a sturdy old stroller.

Then the stroller was taken.

“Had they asked me, I would have given it to them. But they stole it from right out front” of the apartment, she said.

“I was really disappointed.”

Shortly before Thanksgiving, Aguilar got some good news. The Olympic Community Action Programs, or OlyCAP, could help with her Blazer repairs thanks to the Peninsula Home Fund, which makes grants of up to $350 per year to North Olympic Peninsula residents in great need.

Aguilar was eligible for only $265 in assistance, though, since she had previously received $85 in gasoline vouchers during 2016.

Next came a twist of fate: one that closed the gap between the mechanic’s first estimate and the ultimate cost of fixing the Blazer.

Aguilar learned of the Peninsula College Automotive Technology Program, which works on students’ cars for a drastically reduced rate — provided the repairs are in line with the department’s course of study in the current quarter. Working with the Peninsula College Foundation, the campus auto shop also offers substantial discounts on parts and labor.

This fall, it just so happened that Auto Tech head Mike Hansen and his student mechanics are focused on brakes, suspension and steering.

Hansen, who said his department works on needy students’ cars during fall and winter quarter, then opens up to the wider community in spring quarter, sets prices according to the customer’s income.

Several times during the year, he and his team receive referrals from OlyCAP, Healthy Families of Clallam County and local churches.

Aguilar fit the bill. With her OlyCAP referral in hand, she brought the Blazer in for a fresh inspection. Hansen determined what the vehicle needed, and his team of 20 mechanics-in-training got to work.

The repairs to the Blazer’s brakes, rotors and steering took a while, what with the Thanksgiving break and the snowstorm of early December. But Aguilar and Macha got their wheels back Dec. 8, just in time for a rainstorm and a cold snap.

Hansen, for his part, said he and his students find this kind of work especially rewarding.

“We replaced what was needed, and only what was needed” on the Blazer, with labor and parts totaling $900.

Hansen reduced that bill by almost two-thirds. “We waived the labor charge,” he said, “and parts were cost plus 20 percent, which came to $347.”

After the Home Fund grant of $265, Aguilar paid the difference of $82.

“I will not take any work away from the community [auto shops],” Hansen added. “You have to be recommended by a community service organization” such as OlyCAP.

His students, who are both men and women, benefit from this experience too.

“I’m teaching what you have to do, what you need to do in the customer’s best interest,” Hansen said.

Laura Calabria, the OlyCAP specialist who worked with Aguilar, was impressed by her resourcefulness.

“She is a determined single mother, putting herself through school,” Calabria said. And Aguilar helped the agency as well; “thanks to her, we have used the college foundation now to help other clients.”

Aguilar emphasized how the college auto tech program, OlyCAP and other Peninsula College aid programs have allowed her to continue moving forward — on all levels.

Stereotypes linger, she said, about “the poor” — stereotypes about laziness and weakness.

Often, “we are under the influence of circumstances. We’re trying to do good for ourselves and our families.”

The same goes for people who suffer from alcohol and other drug addiction. These ills affect people of all social classes, Aguilar noted.

Following completion of her associate of arts degree at Peninsula College, she is enrolled in the Addiction Studies program. In two years, she plans to become a counselor to people addicted to heroin and other opiates.

“I want to work with people who want help … I just began courses, and I’m very, very excited,” she said.

What OlyCAP and the Peninsula Home Fund did, Aguilar added, was “immense. They really saved me anguish. I am totally grateful.”

The Home Fund aligns with the basic creed of “all of the noble religions,” she said: that of helping one’s neighbors when they are in need.

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 La Push, 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 maximum allowance per year is $350 per household. The average spent per household this year has been $182.27.

• 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.)

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

• 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 $255,468 contributed to the Peninsula Home Fund in 2015, OlyCAP had helped 3,609 individuals — 1,266 households — on the Peninsula through the end of November.

The remaining funding of $24,708.80 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.

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:; email:

If you have any questions about the fund, phone the Peninsula Daily News at 360-4522345.


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, please click on

Below is a list of donors whose contributions were processed between Dec. 14-20:

Name and amount

• Peninsula Daily News employees, Port Angeles, $55. With love from PDN employees. Thanks to all who participated in our holiday fooder!

• Dick and Gayle Larson, Sequim, $50.

• John and Nancy Dolansky, Sequim, $100.

• Howard Gipson, Port Angeles, $100.

• Bill and Pennie Dickin, Sequim, $50. In memory of Mom, Phyllis Bowen.

• Lee Shames, Port Angeles, $1,000. In memory of Marlene Kling.

• Jerry and Sue Fowler, Sequim, $100.

• Sam and Martha Baker, Port Angeles, $300.

• Roy and Pat Jones, Port Angeles, $200. In memory of Sara.

• Bonnie Dyrness, Sequim, $100.

• Mike Stiefel, Sequim, $250. In memory of Timothy McCormick.

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

• Jim Stendebach and Dan King, Port Angeles, $100.

• Chris and Myrna Juergens, Sequim, $100.

• Sandra Smith-Poling and Mitch Poling, Port Townsend, $100.

• Steve Murphy, Port Townsend, $100. In memory of Dewey Ehling.

• Robert Tain, Sequim, $1,501. In memory of Mrs. Betty Kruger.

• Margaret S. Savory, Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Ernest S. Savory.

• Beth Hutmacher, Port Townsend, $25.

• Diane and Paul Shager, Sequim, $100.

• Darlene Jones, Port Angeles, $500. In memory of Kenny and Clara Owen, Jimmie and Jeremy Jones, and Howard and Catherine Jones.

• Gary and Dianne Salyer, Sequim, $100.

• James and Mary Jane Moore, Sequim, $100. In lieu of Christmas presents to our sibling.

• Barbara Comer, Port Angeles, $50.

Name only

• Stan and Sharon Smith, Sequim. In memory of our parents, Stanley and Helen Smith and Don and Evelyn Lewis. They gave us life and love and concern for others.

• Erica C. Schreiber, Sequim.

• Gerald and Charlotte Pierce, Sequim. In memory of Judy Winslett.

• Barry and Ellen Lerich, Nordland.

• Olympic Springs Inc., Carlsborg.

• JoAnn VanAken and Craig Schwandt, Sequim. In memory of Robert C. VanAken.

• Van A. Maxwell and Rennie Shannon, Port Angeles.

• Diane Wheeler, Port Angeles.

• Arlyn and Sue Nelson, Sequim.

• Rosemary Kane, Port Angeles. In memory of Midge Bader, a special person.

• Mildred Robb, Port Angeles. In memory of Geddes Robb.

• Ann R. Kennedy, Port Angeles.

• Clare and Don Hatler, Sequim. In memory of Nelson Cone.

• Jeanne and David Oldenkamp, Port Angeles.

• Stephen and Karen Hart, Port Angeles.

• Montel Livingston, Sequim.

• Eleanor and Andy Geiger, Port Angeles.

• Robert B. McComb, Port Ludlow.

• Ella M. Sandvig, Port Townsend.

• Bryce and Gail Fish, Sequim.

• Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Klein, Sequim. In memory of deceased family members.

• Dart and Margie Whitmore, Sequim. In honor of our neighbors in need.

• Sylvia Meyer, Port Angeles. In memory of Dorothy Skerbeck.

• Chris Minard, Carlsborg.

• Paul Forrest and Gail McDonald, Port Angeles.

• Joanne Eagan, Port Angeles. In memory of Nadine Tullins.

• Steve and Linda Bailey, Carlsborg.

• Pam and Harry Grandstrom, Sequim.

• Steve Torgesen and Connie Kinyon, Sequim.

• Carrol and Alan Clark, Sequim.

• Wayne and Charlotte Duchow, Port Angeles.

• Bette Wood, Port Angeles.

• Jack and Jan Tatom, Sequim.

• Pamela Cameron, Sequim. In honor of Val and Pearl Cameron.

• Susan Skubinna, Sequim.

• Mr. and Mrs. John Norvell, Sequim.

• Brian Roe, Port Townsend. In memory of Eric Gorski.

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

• Paul and Donna Downes, Port Angeles.

• Vicki J. Adams, Port Townsend.

• James and Lucy Kittrick, Port Angeles.

• Darold and Kay Seed, Port Angeles.

• Jim and Judy Perszyk, Port Angeles.

• John and Marie Marrs, Port Angeles. In memory of Perry and Margie Brackett.

• Sandy Larson, Port Townsend.

• Andrew, Amy and Megan Ballard, Port Angeles. In memory of Eleanor Ballard.

• Rae and Bruce Leiper, Port Angeles.

• Julie and Kelly Fisher, Port Angeles.

• Suzanne W. Hadley, Port Angeles. In memory of those we have lost this year.

• Jerry Fisch, Sequim. In memory of Bonnie.

• Donna Spalding, Sequim. In memory of Earl Spalding.

• Elene Duncan, Sequim. In memory of Dr. William Duncan and Bob Duncan.

• Tom and Leann Barber, Port Angeles.

• Lilian Berg, Port Angeles.

• Muriel and Al Main, Port Angeles.

• Vickie Kuchan, Port Angeles.

• Dan and Barbara Hart, Port Angeles.

• Sue and John Miles, Port Angeles. In honor of Kate Larson.

• Elaine Powlesland, Sequim.

• Kathy Barnes, Sequim. In memory of Maux Barnes.

• Barbara Brittingham, Port Angeles. In memory of my sisters, Joan and Laurie.

• Claudia and Joe Girard, Port Angeles. In honor of Terri Acorn.

• John Collins, Port Townsend.

• Will and Kay Garrison, Port Angeles. In memory of Mary Harris.

• Jon and Lillian Mowe, Port Angeles.

• Don Wilson, Port Townsend.

• Jim and Sally Halvorsen, Port Angeles.

• Lisa Loftus, Sequim.

• Joe and Cheryl Winney, Port Angeles.

• Jessie Mills, Sequim.

• James Oakland, Port Townsend.

• Ethel Butler, Port Angeles. In memory of Harold Butler.

• Roy and Mary Gotham, Port Angeles.

• Caryl Oros, Port Ludlow.

• Joan Gloor, Port Angeles. In memory of Dorothea Podmore.

• Robert and Carol Travis, Sequim. In honor of Gloria (Pat) Snively.

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

• Muriel Faunce, Port Angeles. In honor of Gordon Sandison.

• Patricia Randall, Port Angeles. In memory of Frank Randall.

• Argyle J. Baukol, Sequim. In memory of Ken and Fay.

• Bill and Virginia Kinney, Sequim.

• Barbara Priest, Brinnon.

• Ruth Theisen, Port Angeles. In memory of Cathryn Theisen.

• Donna Wiggins, Port Angeles. In honor of Dora Anton. Dora was an English war bride who came to Port Angeles in 1946. She loved Port Angeles and was so grateful for everything.

• Nancy Fowler, Port Townsend.

• Mel and Judy, Port Angeles. In memory of Bea Holleck.

• Gabe and Robin Ornelas, Port Townsend.

• Jay and Paula Richter, Port Angeles. In honor of veterans everywhere.

• LaRue Robirts, Sequim. In memory of Dale Robirts.

• Rudy and April Hiener, Port Angeles. In memory of Ken and Charlotte Bradford.

• Rita Heywood, Sequim. In memory of James ZeHas.

• Florence Chamberlain, Port Angeles.

• The Biskup Family, Port Townsend.

• Susan Cange, Sequim.

• Russ and Janet Holt, Sequim.

• Mary Weidner, Port Townsend.

• David and Francie Louden, Port Angeles. This donation is in honor of our mail carrier, Maureen, who serves the Mount Pleasant area. Thank you, Maureen!

• Judy and Dick Owen, Port Angeles. In memory of my friend and fellow Soroptimist Jet-Set member Jean Fairchild. I miss you.

• Janis Burger, Port Angeles.

• Richard and Jeanine Moore, Sequim. Because He gave His son, we give in His name, Jesus.

• Ann Chang, Port Angeles. In memory of those who went too soon: Abby Donnelly, Jean Fairchild, Mike Grooms, Nancy Moore and Penny Becker.

• William L. Brigden, Sequim.

• FB Symonds MD F.A.C.S., Port Angeles.

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

• Sandra Crook, Port Angeles. In memory of Jack Crook.

• Gary and Lynn Anderson, Sequim.

• Ron and Kathi Larsen, Sequim. In memory of Barbara King. We miss you, mama!

• Robert and Carol Gudgel, Port Angeles. In honor of Wilma Campbell.

• Paul and Paula Creasey. In memory of Smokey.

• Ake and Siv Almgren, Sequim.

• Ricardo and Jean Fleischfresser, Port Angeles.

• Andrea Titus.

• Ann Owsley, Port Townsend.

• Steve and Gwyn Callis, Port Angeles.

• Larry Fox and Nancy Prince-Fox, Port Angeles.

• Carol McRae, Sequim.

• Tim Finch, Sequim. In memory of Ted Smith.

• Pat Bohn, Sequim.

• Cora Pond, Port Angeles. In memory of Mary Flo Bruce.

• Robert and Hayes Wasilewski, Port Angeles. In honor of loved ones.

• Leslie Campbell, Port Angeles.

• Linda Priest, Clovis, California.

• Jerry and Irene Cerra, Sequim.

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

• James and Julie Emery, Port Angeles.

• Velma Johnson, Sequim. In memory of Dottie Skerbeck.

• Bradley Anderson, Port Angeles.

• Robert Stack, Sequim.

• John and Darlene Mjorn, Port Ludlow.

• Pat Donlin, Port Angeles.

• Layton Carr, Sequim.

• Michaelle Barnard, Port Angeles.

• Elenor Watson-Gove, Port Townsend.

• Michael and Marcylyn Kleinberg, Sequim.

• George Warren, Sequim.

• Mary Barnell and The McConaghy Family, Port Angeles.

Amount only

• Port Angeles, $100. In memory of George Van Deusen.

• Port Ludlow, $100.

• Port Angeles, $10,000. In honor of Peninsula Home Fund honorees: Katherine, Scott, Andrew, Stuart, Margaret, Ren, Samuel, James David and Rachel.

• Sequim, $45.

• Sequim, $400.

• Sequim, $1,000.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Don Perry.

• Port Townsend, $100.

• Sequim, $50.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Townsend, $100.

• Sequim, $50.

• Port Angeles, $30.

• Sequim, $50.

• Port Angeles, $150.

• Carlsborg, $100.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $250.

• Port Angeles, $150.

• Port Angeles, $150.

• Sequim, $20.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Sequim, $50.

• Sequim, $250.

• Port Angeles, $250.

• Port Angeles, $100. In memory of our mother, Louise.

• Sequim, $500. In memory Toni Sweda.

• Port Townsend, $100. In honor of our moms and dads.

• $50.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $300.

• Sequim, $20.

• Sequim, $50.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Port Townsend, $230.

• Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Dorothy Goralski.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Angeles, $400.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Angeles, $25.

• Port Angeles, $75.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $100. In memory of Beryl Hood.

• Port Angeles, $1,000. In memory of Erwin and Eleanor Miller.

• Port Townsend, $100. In honor of everyone giving a helping hand.

• Sequim, $50.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Port Townsend, $100. In honor of Carry Wallace.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Gardiner, $100.

• Port Ludlow, $50.

• Sequim, $200.

• Port Townsend, $100. In memory of our parents.

• Port Angeles, $500. In memory of Lyle Lister.

• Port Angeles, $250.

• Port Angeles, $200.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $100. In memory of our mother and fathers.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Port Angeles, $100. In honor of J.D. Rackets.


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.

Amilalupe Aguilar is a full-time Peninsula College student. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Amilalupe Aguilar is a full-time Peninsula College student. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

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