As of Wednesday, 88 more contributions were made to this year’s Neighbors Care Fund, bringing the fund total to $23,825. Those making contributions in the past week are listed below. Those contributing after Wednesday this week will be listed next week.
Lynn D. Thompson
Steve and Becky
Tom and Mary Ann Warren
Dr. Gerald and Barbara Gibbons
Craig and Virginia Kellogg
Gene and Gloria Kupferman
Ruth C. Pauly
Alfred and Millie Cordell
Mrs. Frank Kinscharf
Ed and Marilyn Crouch
Connie and Miles
Will and Carolyn Hamilton
Gus and Rhonda Bekker
Edward and Cheryl Faust
Richard and Kathy Spencer
In Loving Memory of Glory Ann Gnagy
Deanna and Gordon Gibbs
In Loving Memory of Leona Ecker
Jeannine and Tim Barnwell
Dirk Horton and Mickey Fleming
Scott and Maggie McManus
Mrs. Katherine Marr
Dick and Adele Bingham
In Memory of “Little Wan”
Jim and Lynn Brown
David Granatstein and Elizabeth Kirby
In Memory of Stacey James Young Jr.
Jo Evelyn Taft
Dean and Susan Marney
Robert and Barbara Notter
Gil and Kay Sparks
Mary Ellen Wybenga
John and Julie Nebel
Sandie Switzer-Farmer and LeRoy Farmer
John and Francesca Farrell
Larry and Neomah Scharps
Long Business Forms
Julie and Steve Robinson
In Honor of Lee and Sandy Herring
In addition, there were 37 anonymous donors.
The Wenatchee World’s Neighbors Care Fund is in its 10th year of harnessing the giving spirit of the holidays to raise money for local nonprofits.
The 2009 fund totaled a record $35,155 from 228 donors. Over the past nine holiday seasons, generous donors have contributed more than $121,000.
Homelessness is the overarching theme of the 2010 campaign. Four agencies that work with the homeless have been selected to be recipients of this year’s campaign. They are:
The Bruce: This transitional housing facility in downtown Wenatchee is operated by the Women’s Resource Center. It primarily serves homeless families with children. In addition to housing, residents also receive assistance with clothing, food, childcare, parenting classes, crisis intervention services and more.
Solomon’s Porch: This interdenominational Christian-based nonprofit works with at-risk youth between the ages of 13 and 20, operating a youth outreach center in downtown Wenatchee. The agency is raising funds to build and operate an overnight facility for homeless teens.
Okanogan Community Action Council: This nonprofit works with community members to raise the poor out of poverty, to feed the hungry, to provide affordable housing and empower community members through education.
Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council: This nonprofit organization provides assistance with housing, food assistance, food distribution, home heating, energy conservation, technology, education and adult literacy.
To contribute, click here.
OKANOGAN — Food and shelter. They are two of our basic needs. Yet not everyone in North Central Washington can meet those needs.
Okanogan County residents who find themselves short often turn to the Okanogan County Community Action Council.
The nonprofit agency runs myriad programs from weatherization and home repair to education in eviction prevention and money management. It is the distribution center for the county’s eight food banks.
In the past two years, the agency initiated new programs to provide more fresh fruit and vegetables by gleaning unharvested food from local orchards, as well as building and planting vegetable gardens at low-income apartments.
It’s all part of an effort to prevent people from becoming homeless, said Lael Duncan, Community Action’s executive director. “We do that by providing a little breathing room in people’s budgets,” she said.
The Okanogan County Community Action Council is one of four recipients of The Wenatchee World’s Neighbors Care Fund this year, which will go to local organizations helping the homeless.
Okanogan County is one of the poorest counties in the state, yet it has no permanent shelter for people who find themselves homeless.
In the past three years, January homeless counts identified between 300 and 500 people without a home, a number that Duncan believes is low due to the timing of the count.
In recent winters, area churches have offered a place for sober singles to spend evenings and nights. Farmworker housing in Oroville also serves as temporary winter shelter for both single residents and families. And Okanogan Behavioral HealthCare last year opened a therapeutic housing facility for people with mental illnesses or substance abuse problems, relieving some of the homeless problem.
Duncan said with no homeless shelter to turn to, people in an emergency situation who qualify can stay in a motel temporarily.
Since those dollars are limited, Community Action strives to help people before things that force them out of their homes hit, like foreclosure, frozen pipes or money-management difficulties.
“We try to keep people with homes in their homes by doing repairs and reducing their energy needs,” said Ron Whiteside, who manages the agency’s housing department.
Whiteside described programs ranging from insulating attics and water tanks to bringing houses up to code.
People with incomes at 125 percent of the federal poverty level or lower are usually eligible, he said. Demand for aid, however, outstrips funding. “We have four years worth of applications for one year’s worth of funding,” he said.
He said low-income residents often know their homes should be insulated or repaired, but they don’t have the money to do the work or buy the materials. The agency employs a team of workers who do home repair and weatherization. It also hires contractors to help with the work.
Homeowners are asked to help with the repairs, or volunteer in another way, such as working at one of the county’s food banks.
Okanogan County Community Action Council also helps make sure people have food on the table.
“The food bank is our canary in the mine shaft,” and that canary is struggling, said Charlotte Myxter, head of the Action Council’s client services. Myxter said the number of people visiting county food banks has increased by 30 percent in each of the past two years. Food banks don’t provide a week’s worth of food, but help supplement a family’s food budget.
To boost the amount of food available at food banks, Community Action has started two new programs in the past two years.
In the agency’s gleaning program, volunteers pick unharvested fruit at local orchards to distribute to food banks.
Clients who came to the Okanogan Food Bank on Dec. 9 were invited to take a bag of pears left in a shopping cart by the front door that were gleaned from a local orchard.
With a list of between 30 and 40 orchardists and gardeners, and nearly 100 volunteers, the agency has picked more than 17,000 pounds of food in the past two years, said Autumn Carroll, head of Community Action’s food and nutrition program.
Gardening is another idea that brings more food to area food banks, and to the homes of many of their clients.
For the past two summers, a dozen apple bins outside the Community Action building have been filled with dirt, and employees and clients use a method known as square-foot gardening, which raises a lot of food in a small space. Last summer, there were also six growing bins outside the therapeutic housing in Omak.
They grow everything from corn and tomatoes to herbs and root crops.
“This year, we tried to show how much you could actually do,” Carroll said, pointing out the variety of fresh produce in their bins.
Community Action also built small gardens outside 10 homes where clients of the Women and Infant Children program live. “It’s a good way to teach the basics of gardening, while not overwhelming them with a huge garden,” Carroll noted.
They’ve also hosted classes to teach how to can and dry the food.
Carroll said people in the community have really supported their efforts to use food that would otherwise be wasted, and to teach low-income residents how to grow and preserve their own food. “People get so excited to see self-sufficiency programs,” he said.
Duncan said some people believe people should be able to lift themselves out of poverty.
She said Community Action is trying to give people a hand up rather than a handout. “You can’t expect someone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they don’t have any boots,” she said.
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512