Community

Eagles donate thousands to help South Whidbey nonprofits

Debbie Metz, Shawn Nowlin and Lori Cavender stand with their oversized checks from the Whidbey Chapter of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. With them are club president John Nicholls, board chairman Tom Nelson, past president Sally Howard and past president Ed Grabo.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Debbie Metz, Shawn Nowlin and Lori Cavender stand with their oversized checks from the Whidbey Chapter of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. With them are club president John Nicholls, board chairman Tom Nelson, past president Sally Howard and past president Ed Grabo.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Look out, Santa. The Whidbey Chapter of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles is getting pretty good at giving.

The Eagles voted to donate to 17 different organizations at their meeting in November, shortly before Thanksgiving.

“We wanted to make people’s Christmas a little brighter,” said Eagle trustee Dave Moulton.

Good Cheer Food Bank and Ryan’s House for Youth both received $5,000 from the Eagles. In the winter months, both groups needed the money.

“It’s the largest donation from an island group,” said Ryan’s House executive director Lori Cavender. “We feel really honored.”

Ryan’s House for Youth helps homeless youths on Whidbey Island. The nonprofit is waiting for permits to be approved to build a shelter in the Scatchet Head neighborhood on South Whidbey. The check was going toward the capital campaign for building the house.

“This is huge. This is half of the concrete,” Cavender said.

Good Cheer has seen a recent increase in its client base. Normally, it serves 700 families. Last month, the food bank helped 962 families.

Money donations are important to Good Cheer because it has more purchasing power than the standard shopper at the grocery store at a rate of $8 to every $1 donated.

“This money will go directly to feed the 962 families that probably will show up this month,” said Good Cheer community outreach coordinator Shawn Nowlin.

“For the Eagles to donate $5,000 could not come at a better time for us.”

The second-largest donation went to Senior Services of Island County.

Debbie Metz was at the aerie to accept the check on behalf of the Meals on Wheels program — a frequent recipient of the Eagles’ beneficence. She said the $2,500 would be spent on food for Island County seniors.

“We were surprised and thankful for the Eagles,” Metz said. “We love the Eagles.

“It’s nice to know they think a lot about the Meals on Wheels program.”

The Fraternal Order of the Eagles is an organization whose charter is “People Helping People.” The Eagles’ fundraising efforts are specifically targeted to support charities on South Whidbey.

FOE 3418 raised more than $20,000 to donate in 2011.

This year, several fundraising activities included such well-known events as the annual January crab feed, spring plant sale, Summer Sea Fest, fall golf tournament, pet pictures with Santa and the Christmas bazaar. Strong community participation in these events helped support numerous nonprofit groups on the South End.

The Eagles are thrilled to provide donations for 2011. The recipients are: Oasis for Animals, $500; Tommy’s Mobile Turkey Unit, $500; Celebrate America, $300; and $1,000 each to Holiday House, Helping Hands, Hearts & Hammers, Forgotten Children Fund, Enso House, Knight Riders 4-H, Whidbey Island Nutrition, Washington Assistance Dog Education Center and 4-H Youth Development.

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