The annual campaign for Peninsula Home Fund donations begins today.
For 32 years, the Peninsula Daily News has collected donations to create an essential bridge for our neighbors when they run a little short. North Olympic Peninsula 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.
In 2020, as lockdowns intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, people in Clallam and Jefferson counties stepped up to a heroic degree to help those who were suddenly out of work or had other unexpected expenses.
You donated $392,724 to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, which was based on the Peninsula Home Fund structure, and contributed $51,238 to the home fund, which accepts donations year-round, between Jan. 1 and Nov. 24.
This year is shaping up to be impressive also.
Generous donors already have plumped up the Peninsula Home Fund to $97,511 collected between the first of the year and Monday of this week.
The annual campaign always begins on Thanksgiving and extends through the holiday season. All contributions are federally tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which the check is written.
“The generosity of our readers and residents on the North Olympic Peninsula is heartwarming,” said Terry R. Ward, publisher of the Peninsula Daily News.
“The fact that every year they continue to donate their hard-earned money to give others a hand up says a lot about the character of our neighbors.”
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 12.5 percent to assist with administrative costs.
During this season’s campaign, the PDN will list contributors and report how the fund works.
In 2020, OlyCAP amended its rules for dispersing funds to emphasize providing a one-time infusion of funds to help increase self-sufficiency. It will continue that in 2021.
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 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 has said.
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 matter. 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:
• 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
The best way to request assistance from the Peninsula Home Fund is to fill out an online inquiry.
The “Ask for General Assistance” button at www.olycap.org will take you to the request form, or you can go directly to olycap.formstack.com/forms/general_inquiry.
If you are unable to access the internet, you may call OlyCAP offices in Port Angeles — 360-452-4726 — or Port Townsend — 360-385-2571, regardless of which county you reside in, and the front desk staff will fill it out on your behalf over the phone.
Physical offices remain closed to the public due to COVID-19 health concerns, but services are available.
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. You can also find the coupon online on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PenDailyNews. The image can be saved and printed out from there.
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@example.com.