Attached picture, left to right:
Jaime Owens, Opportunity Council
Angela Ceccarelli, Opportunity Council
Kayla Leganza, The Goose Community Grocer
Sandy Whiting, Goosefoot Community Fund
Jessie Gunn, Whidbey Community Foundation
Together with the community, Goosefoot Community Fund and Whidbey Community Foundation (WCF) partnered for a second year in a row to raise over $125,000 for the Essential Needs Program, providing direct and immediate assistance to local households to help keep our neighbors housed, keep them working and help them through emergency.
It has been over two years since the start of the pandemic, but the rising cost of goods, lack of affordable housing, and limited public transportation on the Island have led to many of our Whidbey neighbors struggling to afford even their basic needs. Donations to the Essential Needs Program help fill gaps for Whidbey Island households that aren’t met through existing funding streams. Goosefoot and WCF are working again with The Opportunity Council Island County Service Center (OC) to administer these funds directly to households.
“We are honored to be deploying this funding that assists our community in ways we have never been able to do. To date, we have been able to purchase fridges for disabled community members and elders, assist with homelessness prevention for veterans, purchase home items for those moving out of homelessness, support new moms with car seats, assist with medical bills, car repairs, urgent daycare needs and much more. This means so much to our staff, who often feel frustration not having funds for the extra things that people need assistance with. The program has given us the freedom to help MORE, which is our passion! In this critical time, during the pandemic, we cannot express just how important these funds are.”
- Melissa Frasch-Brown
Island County Service Center, Director
Starting in May 2022, the Whidbey Island Fundraiser for the Essential Needs Program was seeded with $50,000 ($25,000 each from Goosefoot and WCF) with a collective goal of $125,000. The Goose Community Grocer again designated the Essential Needs Program as their Roundup for Charity recipient from May through July and alone raised over $25,000. In addition to The Goose Community Grocer’s efforts, Prima Bistro and Saltwater Fish House and Oyster Bar in Langley supported the fundraiser by designating the Essential Needs Program as their June recipient for their Cocktails for a Cause. $2 from each themed cocktail went directly towards the Essential Needs fundraiser. Because of these generous donations and our community partnerships, the fundraiser met and surpassed its goal by July 31, 2022 with a final total of $125,195.06. Thank you, Whidbey!
“It is truly amazing to see so many partners come together in our community with a common purpose of supporting our neighbors. What started as a response to the economic effects of the pandemic, has grown into a far-reaching program that provides a safety net for our neighbors in need. Flexible dollars like these create more efficiencies in Opportunity Council’s administration of multiple government assistance programs.”
- Jessie Gunn
Whidbey Community Foundation, Executive Director
As of August 31, 2022, Opportunity Council has deployed these funds to 147 households (over 300 neighbors total) for utility bills, storage facilities, medical, transportation and temporary housing costs, and to purchase necessary mobility, household and childcare items. The majority of the households served have been below 30% of the Area Median Income.
Goosefoot and WCF are extremely grateful for the community support. They extend their gratitude to the Opportunity Council for their dedication to helping our community members directly. And they also extend a huge thank you to the entire team at The Goose Community Grocer for their enthusiastic support of this important cause and for their Roundup for Charity Program, benefitting many different local organizations.
“We love the Essential Needs Roundup here at The Goose. It is a much needed support system beyond what is offered through government assistant programs and has the potential to provide life changing aid to our community members. We are proud to be involved in an endeavor that has such a huge impact on our friends and family members.”
- Kayla Leganza
Goose Community Grocer, Manager
“The Essential Needs Program provides much-needed help to families struggling to afford childcare, appliances, rental expenses, transportation, and more. Through The Goose Grocer's Roundup program, the Whidbey Island community donated more than 25K to this charity. The generosity of our community fills my heart with joy and is truly a blessing to witness every day as part of the Goose team.”
- Belinda Permenter
Goose Community Grocer, Assistant Manager
“Our favorite part of the Essential Needs program is the fact that it is entirely funded by locals helping locals. We are not asking people to round up to a faceless organization where we do not see the results. This is neighbors supporting neighbors and we love that.”
- Goose Community Grocer, Team Member
Assistance is available via Opportunity Council Island County Service Center! Learn more at oppco.org/locations/island-county/.
About the Opportunity Council
The Opportunity Council is a private, nonprofit human services organization that acts as a catalyst for positive change in the community and the lives of the people it serves. Its role is to create awareness of the needs of low-income people, engage the community in responding to those needs, and promote institutional sensitivity. The Opportunity Council provides direct services, including information, education, and access to resources to assist low-income and disadvantaged persons in developing and maintaining self-reliance.
Working closely with Island County Human Services and nonprofits on the island, Opportunity Council of Island County administers programs including: information & referral for basic needs, family services & homeless intervention, energy assistance, and weatherization & home repair. Learn more at oppco.org/locations/island-county/.
Goosefoot Community Fund
Whidbey Community Foundation