EDITOR’S NOTE — See accompanying story today, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Home Fund hits $256,014.”
For 27 years, Peninsula Daily News readers in Jefferson and Clallam counties have supported the “hand up, not a handout” Peninsula Home Fund
This is the final article in a series on how the fund operated in 2014 and who benefits from our readers’ generosity.
PORT TOWNSEND — 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.
And while most Home Fund grants are modest, their impact can be huge in the lives of families across the North Olympic Peninsula. Many times, the Home Fund is able to remove that one barrier to an entire family’s success . . .
A story of $50
After the California drought dried up his landscaping business, Stephen Cade and his daughter, Taya, packed up their lives and drove north.
The Carmel Valley was hit hard by the lack of rain.
“It’s been horrible,” he says.
“Trees and plants are dying. Crops can’t be grown because what water there is goes to the cities and not the farms.
“Fortunes and estates family-owned for years are all gone.”
In addition to being a professional landscaper, Stephen was a certified massage therapist and yoga instructor, working all three jobs for more than 20 years.
He initiated and ran a yoga program at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital for 21 years and founded the Salinas Valley Yoga Center, where he taught for six years.
But with the drought, what work was left in the area was being undercut by those willing to work for $10 an hour, a wage “no one can live on there,” Stephen says.
“The price of everything is twice what it is here, and it got too difficult to make a living.”
He and Taya camped in national parks on their way north through Oregon and Washington.
In Port Townsend, he discovered Chetzemoka Park and was amazed by its gardens and beautiful views of Admiralty Inlet.
He lay down on the grass, looked up and “saw a beautiful Washingtonia palm tree right above me.
“I didn’t think it possible in this climate, and I thought, ‘This is quite the place.’”
They camped at Fort Worden State Park.
Money was tight, and there was nothing to spare when he enrolled his daughter as a freshman in the high school.
At Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) — which manages the Peninsula Home Fund for the Peninsula Daily News — he met with case manager Jo Dwyer.
“He just needed a little help,” says Jo, and Stephen was given a $50 voucher to use at a local store for food and school supplies.
“What he asked for may seem small to some, but it was big to him,” she says. “He was so appreciative.”
Stephen found a job teaching yoga at a health studio by first offering to give the owner a massage.
“She liked my work, we talked, and she hired me,” he says.
He still works there as well as being a yoga instructor at two other local businesses.
Through his yoga classes, he’s also gotten some gardening work and says he already has repeat customers.
He’s in talks with staff at Jefferson Healthcare hospital.
The hospital is in the process of converting the bottom level to physical therapy, and he hopes to start a yoga program similar to the one he started at Salinas Valley Memorial.
His daughter has “already made some dear friends here,” he says, “so here we are — just yogis and yoginies,” referring to the male and female practitioners of yoga.
The comment drew a giggle from Taya.