The annual campaign for Peninsula Home Fund donations begins today. This year, it may be more important than ever to donate to help your neighbors in Clallam and Jefferson counties.
For 31 years, the Peninsula Daily News has collected donations to create an essential bridge when things just don’t match up. Residents in need can use the funds, which are dispersed by Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP), to help them go on with being or becoming productive members of society and improving their lives.
This year, the ordinary crises of life have been exacerbated by the financial fallout of health precautions restricting businesses and in-person school attendance so as to slow the spread of COVID-19 — a spread that is on the rise now.
Earlier this year, the PDN used the Home Fund structure to create a COVID-19 Relief Fund, which generous residents plumped up to a hefty $392,723.65. At the same time, donors were contributing to the Home Fund, which accepts donations year-round. Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 24, the Peninsula Home Fund donations grew to $51,238.43.
From this day forward, all donations — whether to the Home Fund or to the COVID-19 Relief Fund — will go to the same place to be used to help people with one-time financial needs on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Today marks the beginning of the 31st annual campaign for the Peninsula Home Fund. It will run through Dec. 31. All contributions are federally tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which the check is written.
Like the Peninsula Home Fund, no money will be deducted by the Peninsula Daily News for administration fees or any other overhead. Every penny will go to OlyCAP, which will use 10 percent to assist with administrative costs.
During this season’s campaign, the PDN will list contributors and report how the fund works.
This year, OlyCAP has amended its rules for dispersing funds.
The emphasis now is on providing a one-time infusion of funds to help to increase self-sufficiency.
Since some needs can surpass the $350 cap OlyCAP has in place, the agency has removed the cap for a one-time grant, although amounts of $500 or more will require the community services director’s approval, according to Audrey Morford, OlyCAP executive coordinator.
Exceptions to the one-time-only guideline can be made if special circumstances arise, she said.
“We hope that this approach can make the Home Fund dollars more impactful in the lives of those experiencing an emergency need at a critical time and keep in better alignment with the philosophy of ‘a hand up, not a hand out,’” Morford said in an email.
Donations don’t have to be large. 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 Peninsula residents when there is nowhere else to turn.
The Peninsula Home Fund is 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 was permitted beginning in 2012 to use 10 percent — 10 cents of every dollar donated — to assist with administrative costs for the vital programs and services for Home Fund clients. (Previously there were no deductions.)
• 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 La Push “a hand up, not a handout” to get through an emergency situation.
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.
• 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.
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 voicemail box at any of the three numbers, and a Home Fund caseworker will phone you back as soon as they are able.
Cherish Cronmiller, 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 olycap.org/donations.
From children’s pennies to checks for thousands of dollars, the generosity of Peninsula Daily News readers makes a positive difference.
If you have any questions about the fund, call Publisher Terry R. Ward at 360-417-3500.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].