If anyone knows the challenges faced by local families in need, it’s the staff at Island County Human Services.
“We trust them to get our donations into the right hands,” said Vickie Chambers, executive director of the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association.
The association recently completed its annual winter drive for the county agency, gathering toilet paper, socks, gloves, soap and other essential items from its approximately 100 members. Businesses and individuals contributed money and items that were all turned over to human services. Many of the items, as well as other donations, will be distributed during the upcoming Point in Time homeless population count on Jan. 24.
Toby’s Tavern during its Christmas party encouraged those in attendance to make a donation, which resulted in around $500 raised toward the cause. Chambers said other members also provided large cash donations, which the waterfront association used to purchase gift cards to gas stations and local grocery stores.
“We’re a great point of collection because we see so many people for a variety of reasons,” said Kathryn Clancy, human services mental health program supervisor.
Staff members within the county agency regularly interact with people struggling with housing, behavioral health issues, developmental disabilities, or are families with young children and other groups that need services.
Members of the opioid outreach team often go out to those struggling with addiction and are able to bring donated items directly to those individuals.
Molly Peterson, a local knitter, recently donated a number of hats and scarfs in a variety of sizes.
Wendy Beagle is an early childhood behavioral support specialist and works with families with children from infants to 5 years old. She said she’s already handed out several small hats from the donation.
“I work with a lot of families living paycheck to paycheck,” Beagle said.
There’s always a demand for toilet paper, diapers and hygiene items, she said. During the Jan. 25 federally-mandated homeless count, outreach volunteers will take along new pairs of socks in their backpacks to hand out to individuals they find, according to Joanne Pelant, housing resource coordinator.
“A fresh pair of socks can really mean the world,” Pelant said.
Many donated items are located at the Housing Support Center on First Street in Coupeville and are offered to clients regularly. Because of space limitations, officials ask that donations not be dropped off without calling ahead.
• For information about donating, call 360-678-7880. To volunteer with the Point in Time homeless count, call 360-678-7804 or email firstname.lastname@example.org