By Erica Delma, Jefferson County YMCA

(Published in The Good Works Section of the 11/23/2016 Port Townsend Leader)

Quilcene Summer Meals: Budding thespians getting ready for their production of Rubia and the Three Osos. Goldilocks (in the yellow shirt on the left) is showing off his long, flowing hair!

I know firsthand just how important United Good Neighbors (UGN) funding and support is to the YMCA.  The Jefferson County YMCA  provides thousands of meals and snacks annually to children throughout Jefferson County helping to meet basic nutrition needs and keeping children on course for academic success.  Our Summer Meals and Activities program is just one of the programs receiving funding support from UGN.

The network of programs supported by UGN ranges from youth services to services for the elderly and disabled and includes mental health support, transportation, emergency food and shelter services. Many of our local nonprofit organizations would be unable to help our most vulnerable populations without funding from United Good Neighbors.

As the Director of Community Engagement for the YMCA of Jefferson County and a member of the United Good Neighbors 2016 Campaign cabinet, I have had the opportunity to connect with many non-profit leaders in our community and learn more about the importance of United Good Neighbors’ funding. Here is what I’ve heard from my nonprofit peers:

Nicole Chimenti of the Community Boat Project is grateful for UGN support that enables them to provide for the youth of the Tri-Area, Hadlock, Irondale and Chimacum areas. The Community Boat Project shop is a safe place where youth can go to connect with local mentors and learn boat-building as well life skills.  For Nicole,

being a UGN partner is great because it makes us part of a family of organizations that all have the same challenges, even if our work manifests itself differently. When we gather, I am always amazed and proud of the number and quality of the people in this county. It would be hard to connect with them without the UGN hub. That is very uplifting and gives one heart in challenging times.  

Amanda Milholland, Executive Director of the Jefferson County Farmer’s Market shared that UGN funding provided financial support for the Gimme5 Food Assistance Matching program and helped the Market access a USDA grant.

We are able to use UGN donations as matching funds for a food insecurity grant from the USDA.” said Milholland.  “Without UGN funds, we would not have access to this grant funding, which is critical for the continued operation of our food assistance program”.

Sarah McMahan of ECCHO noted that 

We tremendously value UGN funding because it allows us to continue to meet the needs of the medically, financially and ability-challenged people of our community. Without the funding that ECHHO needs and which UGN helps to provide, we would have to reduce our investment in fostering an independent, healthy and compassionate community.”

On behalf of 21 UGN partner organizations, I invite community members to consider joining your neighbors in making a gift to the United Good Neighbors Fall Fund Drive so that our nonprofit organizations can continue to keep people housed, nourish and support our children and elders, and provide access to the services members of our community need to get back on their feet.

Interested in volunteering? Visit UGNs Get Connected Jefferson at getconnectedjc.wearugn.org to learn about nonprofits in Jefferson County and discover how you can connect as a volunteer. Get Connected Jefferson is a free, online volunteer center that bridges the gap between organizations and the skilled, dedicated volunteers in our community.  To make a donation: Send donations to United Good Neighbors, 201 West Patison, Suite B, Port Hadlock, 98339, or donate online by clicking on the GIVE button.  You can also phone in your contribution to 360-385-3797.

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