Salmon feast to benefit Helping Hand of South Whidbey

Rosemary Martin

Helping Hand of South Whidbey is inviting South End residents to enjoy a salmon feast while helping their neighbors in need.

The non-profit organization, located in the annex of Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland, will host its first salmon dinner from 5-7 p.m. on April 17 at the Langley United Methodist Church.

The meal costs $15 for adults and $8 for children under age 12, and will include supplementary dishes such as coleslaw, baked potatoes, garlic bread and dessert as well as coffee and tea.

Pat McDaniel, who volunteers at Helping Hand weekly, formulated the plan for the dinner and purchased the salmon.

A handful of businesses and churches including The Goose, Freeland Cafe, Trinity Lutheran Church and St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods donated food and dinnerware for the event.

All proceeds go towards Helping Hand’s housing assistance program.

The organization, which formed on South Whidbey approximately 33 years ago, provided $19,902 in grants to residents for help with rent and mortgage payments in 2014.

In the first financial quarter of 2015, Helping Hand has spent $18,002 in assisting 253 South End residents, 66 of whom are children, with various expenses including housing, utilities and car payments.

Rosemary Martin, executive director, said the all-volunteer organization hopes to raise at least $2,500 during the dinner.

Martin noted that the majority of their funds go towards assistance with housing payments, though utilities assistance is a close second.

The organization grants a maximum of $400 a month to each individual for housing assistance.

In addition to assistance with bills, Helping Hand takes hundreds of calls and acts as a referral agency for individuals who require help from care providers or social service agencies. The organization’s “total communications” for 2014 were 1,766, which includes walk-ins and phone calls as well as referrals.

Martin noted that the name of the organization is true to its purpose. She and other volunteers help neighbors, acquaintances and friends with a hand towards a more stable future.

“I’m making a difference in my own community,” Martin said.