United Good Neighbors surpasses fundraising goal in Jefferson County

PORT TOWNSEND — United Good Neighbors of Jefferson County plans a celebration after it surpassed its fundraising goal.

“We are a little bit over the goal,” at about $260,000, said UGN Executive Director Carla Caldwell on Thursday.

The good news comes after UGN, which helps the county’s needy, fell short of its $275,000 goal in 2008 during rocky economic times.

A goal of $250,000 was set for 2009 after UGN saw only $234,000 donated in 2008.

“It was a more realistic goal,” Caldwell said.

Bonnie Hupf Ruidl, campaign director, said the nonprofit agency’s board and supporters had been confident they could reach the goal in 2009.

Celebrate next week

UGN board and staff will celebrate their success at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Port Ludlow Beach Club, 121 Marina View Drive, and again at the same time on Wednesday at Pope Marine Building on Madison Steet at Water Street in downtown Port Townsend.

UGN made an extra push to Jefferson County areas outside Port Townsend with former Port Townsend Mayor John Clise as campaign chairman.

About 15 others were actively involved in the fund-raising effort, asking businesses and individuals for donations.

UGN channels money raised to 38 Jefferson County organizations.

“The emergency shelter and feeding programs have first priority as far as the allocations,” Caldwell said.

The programs receiving UGN donations serve at least 7,000 Jefferson County residents in 2008.

The agency said that in 2008:

• 234 low-income elders and disabled adults received help to stay in their homes.

• 88 young girls participated in summer camp.

• 256 residents were helped with primary health care.

• 289 families received heating, mortgage and rental assistance during the winter.

• 200-plus Jefferson County residents received oral health care.

• UGN supported 23 percent of the food bank budget.

• The winter homeless shelter was able to operate for 100 days.

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Port Townsend-Jefferson County Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at jeff.chew@peninsuladailynews.com.

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