It’s All About Food and Literacy for Jefferson County Kids!

Nourishing the brain, body and soul of children in our community!

The Jefferson County YMCA is servingYMCA 2 150 meals each day at Summer Meals and Activities Program!

In 2013 the YMCA served more than 5,000 healthy snacks and meals to over 150 local youth.  This year the YMCA expects the program, which runs from June 16 through August 22nd, to provide 10,000 meals and snacks to 300 students in three locations: Chimacum, Port Townsend and Quilcene.

Why Summer Meals?

Learning does not end when school lets out, neither does the need for good nutrition.  The free program helps to maintain children’s reading skills  and provide food while school is out for the summer!

In 2013 100% of Chimacum’s Feed Your Brain participants stayed at or improved their reading skill level over the summer.

Addressing the Achievement Gap!

Watch this two minute video illustrating the connection between lack of access to summer enrichment programs and the achievement gap

In Jefferson County 46% of our students receive free or reduced school lunches.  The YMCA Summer Meals program provides access to meals and enrichment programs that will help reduce the achievement gap between students in our community.

How is it Funded?

The Jefferson County YMCA Summer Meals and Activities program is made possible by the combination of Federal grants for meals (SFSP- Summer Food Service Program), State and private funding for enrichment programs.  United Good Neighbors funded the much needed expansion of the program in Quilcene.

It takes a village!

Volunteers and community support are Vital to the success of the program.    Crews of 5-6 volunteers gather each morning to prepare 150 lunches and snacks.  Community members, like Allen and Judith Zee, Thaddeus Jurzynski and Jamie Bima, volunteer to provide fun and educational activities each day of the week.  Community groups and organizations like the Blue Bills, 4-H, the Library and the Burke Museum have all pitched in with the enrichment programming.  And Red Dog Farm dropped by organic broccoli!

These kids are terrific kids!  This program offers a chance for something like summer camp and adds some fun to their summer.  Jamie Bima- a volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters for 30 years




2014 Fund for Women and Girls Grant Application Now Available

fund-for-women-and-girlsThe application and supporting document for the 2014 Fund for Women and Girls grant is now available. The area of focus for 2014 will be Education and Training for Women of All Ages. Nonprofit organizations may propose programs or projects that provide or increase access to educational or training opportunities which might include, but are not limited to, career or skill development, continuing academic education, keeping girls in school, developing entrepreneurial skills, improving financial management, healthful living, parenting or personal growth.

The Fund for Women and Girls has set the criteria for selection as the 2014 Grantee in two tiers: Basic and Bonus.  All applicants must meet criteria stated in the Basic section in order to be considered for the 2014 Grant.  Grant applications also meeting the criteria in the Bonus section may increase the chance of being selected for the 2014 Grant.

Grant proposals will be reviewed and evaluated against the criteria outlined in this document. Proposals are considered competitive and will be compared to other applicants. Proposal submissions will be reviewed by the Fund for Women and Girls Grant and Steering Committee members and JCCF staff. Communication regarding this RFP, decision- making, the final award and grant monitoring and reporting will come, on behalf of the Fund, through JCCF.

Please contact Carla Caldwell for more information.

UGN Gives a High 5 For Gimme 5


DSC_0320 2United Good Neighbors has stepped up to fund “Gimme 5″- the Farmers Market Food Assistance Program. a creative partnership between the Jefferson County Farmers Market and Jefferson County Public Health – WIC (Women Infants and Children) Program.

Gimme 5 is  a food benefits matching program that makes fresh locally grown farm products accessible to our low income neighbors. For every $10 in basic food benefits (food stamps) redeemed at the market, the customer receives an extra $5 token, and for every $20, an extra$10 (two tokens). WIC and Senior Benefits are matched 1 to 1. The Gimme 5 matching funds are only good for fresh farm products.

How was this Gimme5 partnership born?

The Jefferson County Farmers Market is the non-profit organization that operates on of the smallest and most successful small town markets in the state of Washington.  The Port Townsend and Chimacum Farmers Markets support the development of local sustainable farming by cultivating a vibrant farmers market that serves as a community gathering place while providing fresh farm products to communities in Jefferson county.

When Karen Obermeyer, Health Educator for Jefferson County Public Health Department, and Will O’Donnell, Director of Jefferson County Farmer’s Market put their heads together to figure out how to make fresh farm product more accessible to all of our community members, the Gimme 5 program was born.  After launching Gimme 5 in 2013, they knew they had an innovative and successful program in their hands. Of course, all programs need ongoing funding and support and when funds were needed to support Gimme 5 for our community in
 2014, what better place to go than to the “community safety net”, United Good Neighbors.

O’Donnell and Obermeyer submitted a request to the United Good Neighbors in June for a special grant to help them reach more people through their program.  The UGN board responded with a $2,500 grant.

UGN maintains a reserve fund for emergency or supplemental funding for programs that clearly meet an urgent need in the community and that need an extra financial boost outside of the regular UGN granting cycle,”  says Kim Hammers, UGN board president.  “Gimme 5 meets those criteria and we wanted to help it reach more people this summer.

Neighbor Spotlight: The Boiler Room

A safe creative space for youth, a place for community!

Boiler Room Family Portrait, also known as "Raptor Attack Virus Slowly Sweeps the Room."

Boiler Room Family Portrait, also known as “Raptor Attack Virus Slowly Sweeps the Room.”

Now in its 20th year, The Boiler Room, is the brainchild of 3 young adults (Theresa Verraes, Ross Bratlee and Mitch Slater), who recognized the need within our community for a safe creative space for our youth.  Since its inception in 1993, the Boiler Room has provided a safe place for our youth to hang out, free from drugs and alcohol, while also providing job training, positive skills development, personal growth opportunities and a focus on service and the arts.

The Boiler Room serves as a social service hub, helping youth to connect with other organizations and programs in town as well as providing first aid, emergency preparedness and drug/alcohol overdose information. They offer weekly Art Group, Knitting Group, Movie Night, Music Theory Class, Open Mic, and various shows and dances. And they  offer free food six days a week, with an emphasis on a complete meal with a warm component Friday-Sunday.

“The culture within the Boiler Room is very strong. It’s not just selling coffee. It’s a place where folks who don’t get taken seriously by other factions of the community can be taken seriously.” -Ahren Howard

A unique open-door framework

There are no other youth organizations or businesses in Jefferson County that have an open-door framework for youth and other patrons.  Patrons are not required to make a purchase, a requirement at many other businesses that disallows disadvantaged individuals from being on the premises.

United Good Neighbors provided funding support for The Boiler Room’s Free Food and Job Training programs for 2014. 

The Boiler Room supports local business

The Boiler Room does business in town as much as possible, serving locally roasted Sunrise Coffee, utilizing SOS for all our printing needs, purchasing supplementary items from The Food Coop and office supplies from Olympic Art and Office for years.

Most recently, with help from the Port Townsend Rotary, United Good Neighbors and FEMA, The Boiler Room was able to purchase Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares from Red Dog Farm and Sunfield Farm, providing local, fresh, nutritionally dense ingredients for our regular free food programs. Sunfield Farm was chosen because they are also a non-profit, with an education component. Red Dog Farm has long been a supporter of The Boiler Room, donating “Dog Bones” to our annual auction on a regular basis.

The Boiler Room gives back to community

In an effort to encourage our volunteers to actively participate in their community, The Boiler Room “shares” volunteers with other organizations.  Over the course of the past year, Boiler Room Volunteers have contributed numerous volunteer hours to organizations such as United Good Neighbors, Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County and the Port Townsend Main Street Program.

Support The Boiler Room Community!

Stop by for coffee and a bite to eat!  Enjoy some music!  Or, volunteer!  You can learn more about volunteering with The Boiler Room by visiting the volunteer page on their website.


Sharing the Community Conversation

Thank You!

Engaging in Conversation

Engaging in Conversation

We would like to thank the 26 community members representing local businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, the schools and local government gathered on Thursday, July 10th at St Paul’s Episcopal Church to join in a community conversation with United Good Neighbors.

Our Goal:

The goal of this meeting was to connect with community members to hear thoughts, insights and ideas for building a stronger and more visible annual campaign that will allow United Good Neighbors to increase our support for the important “safety net” work of our partner organizations.

What We Heard:

We began with welcome and introductions and then spent two hours together engaged in rich conversations with community members representing cross-section of our community.  Over the course of our conversation, the following themes emerged:

  • UGN fills a very unique role in our community, meeting critical needs of local nonprofits for funding basic needs, enrichment and safety net programs.
  • UGN is a “one-stop-donation” opportunity for community members to funnel gifts to a variety of social and human service organizations that have been thoroughly vetted.  People can trust that their donations are being invested in worthy projects and organizations.
  • UGN is truly community-driven.  Funds raised by UGN via the Annual Campaign stay in Jefferson County and decisions about how funds are distributed or allocated are made by members of the community invited to serve on UGNs allocations committee
  • Beyond funding, UGN provides local nonprofits with a stamp of approval that helps organizations build credibility as well as access additional funding.
  • UGN operates as a hub or clearing house for social safety net organizations.  We are the “go-to place” for information.

Interested in reviewing a summary of our community conversation?  Just click here!