Whidbey News-Times


Concert makes a difference for Oak Harbor families

Whidbey News-Times Staff reporter
November 8, 2012 · Updated 2:51 PM

Julia Sopalski, pictured at right, is Opportunity Council’s homeless housing supervisor. She delivered coats purchased by the Windermere Foundation in its annual effort to purchase coats, hats, gloves and socks for every child living at Marjie’s House, a women and children shelter in Oak Harbor. She will speak about the needs of Oak Harbor at the concert fundraiser Nov. 16. / --

Oak Harbor families are in need, and an evening of good times for a good cause can help alleviate homelessness and other problems for local families. The third annual Johnny Bulldog concert to benefit the Windermere Foundation is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16 at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge. Tickets cost $20 and are tax deductible.

A raffle opens the evening, followed by live music featuring Johnny “Bulldog” Tristao of Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

All proceeds from this event benefit the Windermere Foundation, which was established in 1989 as a nonprofit and is dedicated to helping local homeless and low-income families.

The unique aspect of the Windermere Foundation is that all the money raised stays at the Oak Harbor foundation to benefit local families in need that have children.

“The biggest thing is that all money stays in our backyard,” said Annie Cash, Oak Harbor foundation representative.

Since 2007, the Oak Harbor Windermere Foundation alone has invested more than $40,000 into its own backyard, she added.

The Johnny Bulldog concert is an annual event. Proceeds “fill up the coffers for this foundation because the need far outweighs the funds for everybody,” Cash said.

For the past 23 years, the Windermere Foundation has donated a portion of the proceeds from every home purchased or sold towards supporting low-income and homeless families in local communities, Cash said. Windermere donates to local charities in any way that positively impacts low income families, Cash said. Over the past five years, funds were donated to Readiness to Learn, Citizens Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse, Opportunity Council, Whidbey Island Share a Home, Help House, Toddler Learning Center and other local charities, as well as to individuals who apply for funds for food, rent money, school supplies, clothing and more.

For example, funds donated to Opportunity Council support families in the emergency shelter and transitional housing. Families are provided with clothing, food and school supplies, and funding supports mothers with babies and children at Marjie’s House, the only local women and children shelter on North Whidbey. Funding for Readiness to Learn supplies children in need with backpacks full of school supplies through the Backpack Project, and helps with Holiday House.

One of the foundation’s largest events of the year is purchasing new coats for each child living at Marjie’s House through Operation Warm Winter.

“I go off-island and make sure we get really high quality coats that aren’t going to stand out,” Cash said. Accompanying the coats are warm winter hats, gloves and socks — “The little things they grow out of so fast that just add up,” Cash added.

Cash encouraged the community to attend the concert fundraiser.

“It’s just a great time and it’s really making a difference, literally. It’s not making money to do anything other than fill up the coffers for this foundation, which is nonprofit,” Cash said.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 675-5953.


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