Fundraiser helping homeless is Nov. 18

The Whidbey Homeless Coalition is in the midst of one of its largest fundraisers to keep its shelters open. The Hearts for the Homeless campaign started in mid-October and will finish with a community celebration on Nov. 18 at Greenbank Farm.

Entry to the celebration will be free, but raffle tickets, food and beverages will be available for purchase. All proceeds will go toward operations of the House of Hope, a 90-day transitional shelter, and the Haven emergency shelter.

“It costs about $20 per bed a night,” said Operations Coordinator Catherine Sasso.

There are about 60 beds filled each night between the coalition’s programs, Sasso said.

The Haven rotates among churches in Oak Harbor, but the organization helps pay the building’s utilities, for breakfast and coffee in the morning and for other supplies. The year-round shelter opened in 2017 and has served over 300 individuals and provided more than 8,500 nights of stay since then, according to the coalition’s website. More than 90 percent of the people served there are from Whidbey Island or related to residents.

Funds raised during the fall fundraiser will also go toward the House of Hope’s repairs, Sasso said. The coalition is in the process of installing new windows and a new fence at the Langley shelter. The transitional home has four bedrooms that have stayed at full capacity since it opened its doors in 2014, the website states.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $10,000 to keep the shelters running through the winter. The November event will either be a celebration of meeting that goal or a last effort to push it over the top, Sasso said.

The evening event will go from 5 to 9 p.m. at the farm’s Big Red Barn and will include live music, dancing, a raffle, an auction, dinner, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and Mr. South Whidbey as host.