NEWS UPDATE: JANUARY 19, 2012

Your donation can help make the difference between whether a person has shelter and heat this winter.

Please give a generous, tax deductible donation today. Thank you.

 


Why Your Donations Are Needed…


 

How we are funded…

Helping Hand relies upon community donations, plus underlying support from participating churches, and several local and regional grants.

2010 donations were $70,216. About 11 percent of this amount went for operational support of the nonprofit charity in the form of utilities, office supplies, postage, office rent, and a $300 a month stipend for the Executive Director.  All the rest of the funds were used or determined for client grants.

At one point in 2010, there was not enough money in the bank to cover client needs and we appealed to our community and church congregations which allowed us to meet the needs for client heat, rent and utilities.

We are hoping to prevent such a sudden need this coming winter by increasing the visibility of our services in the South Whidbey community, and by applying to potential foundation grant sources. Budgets to help the poor and marginalized are being cut way back, and we anticipate that this will prove to be another difficult year for south end families and individuals. We really can use some support from a wider base of contributors.

Will you help?

A donation of any amount will help, and an ongoing monthly donation of $15 or $25 could well mean the difference whether a family has heat or not this coming winter, or can stay in their rental home when illness or layoffs strike.

If you’ve been blessed, please consider passing along the blessing to others. Please use the secure Just Give link below and on any page on this website in the sidebar, or please mail a check to Helping Hand / PO Box 661 / Langley, WA 98260, or even drop by a check to our offices at 816 Camano Rd. in Langley opposite the Fairgrounds any weekday morning between 9 a.m. and noon.

Use our safe, easy and secure donation page at Click and Pledge below.


Online donation system by ClickandPledge

Or, for those who prefer using “Just Give” as an online donation source.

 

This letter to the editor of the South Whidbey Record was written more than six years ago by the late Peggy Norton, who was then the coordinator of Helping Hand.

Peggy was a tireless supporter of Helping Hand, and her words still ring true today. See if you don’t agree.

A Challenge to Help

Asking for help is not easy. I see it in the eyes of clients as they enter our office. Self reliance and self sufficiency are ingrained in our culture. For a person to admit that they have reached the limit of their ability to deal with a difficult situation is both humbling and stressful.

Teens and seniors… single, married, divorced… with children… alone in the world… healthy, unhealthy… the working poor… the unemployed… displaced homemakers… they all come to Helping Hand’s office in Langley.

They come with overdue PSE bills, propane bills, or notices that their phone will soon be disconnected. Often it is the rent or the mortgage that they can’t quite pay or are so far in arrears that they face eviction.

Sometimes providing help is as simple as supplying a ferry ticket or a gas voucher for work, or help with an unexpected car repair. Sometimes the help needed seems overwhelming and beyond our scope.

As much as financial aid, most are in need of a smile, a listening ear, and words of encouragement that they can move beyond this present difficulty. Some will. Some will not.

To be clear, Helping Hand has limited funds — very limited funds. We cannot lift someone out of chronic poverty. We can help people living on the edge whose lives threaten to spiral downward because of a short-term unexpected financial need. Even so, at times our volunteers are frustrated because there is not enough money to help more. As coordinator I frequently have to decide how much we can help within our current balance of funds.

Though Whidbey Island is a lovely, affluent place to live or have a weekend home, one does not need to look too hard to see pockets of poverty dotting the landscape. It is there. One just needs to be aware. A sudden reversal of fortune, however, may be a little harder to detect. The resulting stress from mounting bills takes a toll on self-worth, marriages, relationships, and health.

Most of us are one or two paychecks away from losing our current standard of living. A job layoff, medical emergency, chronic illness, death, or divorce can all knock us into the path of collection agencies, eviction, and utility shut-offs.

Helping Hand works closely with other charities on the south end. It is no secret that with the current outpouring of generosity to victims of the tsunami, many of us are holding our collective breaths, wondering if this will mean a diminished amount of support for local services. I hope not, but experience and studies have proven otherwise.

So, may I challenge you, members of the South Whidbey community, as well as churches and community organizations, to match the money you donated to the tsunami to local charities?

There are many to support. Aside from Helping Hand there is Good Cheer Food Bank, Friends of Friends, the South Whidbey Family Resource Center, Whidbey Island Share-A-Home, Habitat for Humanity, Hearts and Hammers, the South Whidbey Youth Connection, and several other worthy causes and specific local funds for those in need. And if you cannot dig a little deeper into your resources, then would you consider volunteering your time and talent? The need is here, and I want to believe that the commitment to those in need in our own community is here as well. — Peggy Norton