Dear Friends and Neighbors,
 
This is a difficult column to write. On January 14th Craig Wilson unexpectedly passed away. You may know Craig best as the longtime owner of Video Isle, or as the photographer for the neighborhood kids' sports teams, or as an active member of the Queen Anne Chamber. But Craig was also a tireless Helpline Board member and volunteer for many years -- somewhere between 15 and 20 -- and in that capacity he helped to sustain and grow the Helpline. He was instrumental in the success of our annual Fun Run/Walk, assisting with everything from distributing yard signs to emceeing. He helped manage our annual Christmas Tree Lot, he was our resident photographer, our volunteer truck driver and our always present ambassador for the Helpline's mission of neighbors helping neighbors. Craig truly walked the talk, giving selflessly to others, always with his trademark wit and insightful wisdom and driven by his love for this community. As Pat Sobeck, former Helpline Executive Director said: "Craig was such a great board member. He was always available to help, he came by the office frequently to see if we needed anything, and he would do whatever he could to help people who were experiencing some hardship to find work, including hiring them himself when possible."
 
When people heard of Craig's death, many emailed with stories and memories. Below are a few remembrances from current and former Helpline board and staff members:

"Craig was never a spectator in life; he was an active participant and encouraged everyone around him to do the same with his quick wit, laugh and can-do attitude. He was a superb community partner - someone who didn't just look around seeing things that needed to be done, but someone who took action and got others to join in the cause." 
Ann Pearce

"By far the best part about working with Craig on the Fun Run was his entertaining us with his wit! He wanted us to succeed and did everything he could to make that possible. We looked forward to any time we spent with him." -  Susan Belanich
"My first day volunteering at the desk at Helpline I met Craig. He walked through the door and said "Hello Earthlings." I knew from that moment I would like this man with the larger than life personality." -  Nancy Wood

"He was truly one of the kindest and most giving people I have ever met. He gave SO MUCH to the Queen Anne community in many venues. His presence will be missed in many ways; but his spirit will live on!" -  Marty Johnson
 
To honor Craig and his service we have two announcements:
  • We are establishing the Craig Wilson Memorial Fund. Any donations made to this fund will go to services that assist neighbors in need and help strengthen our community, something Craig was so passionate about. You can donate to this fund by sending a check payable to the Queen Anne Helpline or clicking the Donate button at the top of this Newsletter, and indicating that your donation is "In memory of Craig Wilson."
  • In recognition of Craig's enormous contribution, this year's Fun Run/Walk (July 9th) will be in his honor - the Craig Wilson Memorial Fun Run/Walk. 
PLEASE NOTE : There will be a memorial service and celebration of Craig's life on Thursday, February 18th, 5:30 pm at the Swedish Club, 1920 Dexter Ave. N.
 
While we all mourn Craig's untimely death, he'll be a powerful inspiration to us for years to come.
 
Sincerely,  
 
Lisa
Lisa Moore, Executive Director
 

Community Forums

We want YOU -- to participate in a community conversation about the 
Helpline and the needs in our neighborhood.

Ever wonder who it is we help or what the Helpline really does? 
Interested in sharing your ideas and thoughts about our work?

Please join us at one of our upcoming Community Forums!
Tentative dates:
Friday 3/4, 8-9 am
Wed. 3/16 2-3 pm
Wed. 3/24 5:30-6:30 pm

If you are interested in reserving a space or would like to learn more, please email Lisa Moore, lisa@queenannehelpline.org, or call:

206-282-1540.

THANK YOU!

Heartfelt thanks to the following groups or individuals for their fantastic support!
 
Plymouth Congregational Church for their recent $2,000 grant! Many thanks to volunteer Carol Jackson who spearheaded the effort to secure this grant -- we are so honored and thrilled to have been selected.
 
McClure Middle School students who spent a couple of hours in the Helpline recently helping with everything from filing to sorting clothing donations to packing food bags. They were awesome -- as were the parents and teachers who accompanied them!

Whole Foods & their customers who so generously donated their bag refunds to the Helpline for the past few months, helping to raise an astounding $2,595! Many thanks to Whole Foods for selecting us as the recipient for this great support program.
 
Little Friends Preschool who visited us in December, learned about the Helpline, and brought us much-needed hygiene products.
 
Michelle Hagarty's 7th grade class at St. Anne School, who comes every month or two to help out with whatever needs doing. Their energy, willingness to help us, and good spirits are so appreciated! 
 
Volunteer Spotlight:  Donna Strep
 
Donna has been married to her husband, Kurt for 30 years. They have two grown children, Nicole and Drew, and recently welcomed a new son-in-law, Tanner, into the family. Kurt and Donna moved back to Seattle in October 2014 after having spent 25 years in Kitsap County raising their children. 
 
Donna says "our family has been blessed throughout our life with enough food, shelter, and clothing. Sadly that is not the case for many, so it's very important to everyone in our family to give back and help in any manner that we're able. I am extremely impressed with the services that QA Helpline can provide with a small amount of staff, but I know that it's not possible to do without volunteers. I love volunteering with Helpline because when I'm done, I feel as though I've been able to make a difference in someone's life in some fashion."

Since opening her business on Queen Anne, Donna has been a fantastic volunteer. She and Kurt are bag-packing superstars at our Weekend Food for Kids packing parties, and Donna has also cashiered at the Tree Lot, helped at the Taste of Queen Anne, and more. We really appreciate our neighborhood business partners!  

 

HELPLINE WISH LIST

VOLUNTEERS

We would welcome anyone who is able to help with the following!  Please call, email, or fill out a volunteer application on our website:  www.QueenAnneHelpline.org/volunteer/
  • Occasional handyman and electrical help. We are in an old building and would love some assistance as needed with our lights and other miscellaneous tasks.
  • IT support - we need help to upgrade to Windows 10, make sure our computers are all virus protected, and provide general IT support as needed.
  • Website assistance - help us keep our WordPress website up to date, and add photos and special events pages.
  • Social media/communications assistance - ongoing.
DONATIONS
  • Clothing - Men's shoes and casual pants, especially jeans. All sizes.
  • Food - Canned fruit (flip tops are great but anything is appreciated); crackers - especially boxes that contain sleeves of crackers like Ritz or saltines.
 Client Stories
 
At the Queen Anne Helpline we explain that we act as a "safety net for neighbors facing hardships." What exactly does that mean?

Chances are you have money saved that can help cover costs in an emergency. Or maybe you can count on family or friends to help when times are tough. Most, if not all, of our clients do not have this sort of safety net to fall back on. They work but make just enough to cover their monthly expenses, and budgets are even tighter now with increased rents. 

And what do we mean by "hardship" or "emergency?" We might all agree that an unexpected surgery  would meet that definition. But consider these situations that we have heard recently from clients:
  • A single mom has her car break down. The cost of fixing her car is more than she has saved up, but her car is vital to her employment. In this case, the Helpline helped cover some of her rent so that she had the funds available to get her car repaired so she could get back to work.
  • A gentleman in his 60s, whose sole income is social security, came to us because his social security check was delayed a month due to identity theft concerns. He simply cannot wait a month to pay all his bills. The Helpline was able to contribute most of the amount of his rent due; and while he was in our office he took some warm clothing, a food bag, and a couple bus tickets. He left here much happier than he arrived.
  • One client, a single dad, has a good job in the medical field. His employment required him to take a 3-week course to renew his certification. The cost of the course was covered by his employment , but he did not receive his normal wages during this time. Three weeks without pay is not doable for someone with no safety net.
All of these scenarios may not seem like such a disaster to many of us. But once someone who has no safety net misses one rent or utility payment, it is all too easy to spiral out of control - until it is nearly impossible to catch up on all the debt. This is when people have their power shut off or are faced with eviction. That is exactly what we DON'T want to happen. Our most important work is to keep people in their homes - preventing possible homelessness - with the lights and heat on. We are a safety net for our neighbors facing hardships, and our assistance provides desperately needed stability for those who otherwise do not have it.

 

Our mission: To improve the lives of our neighbors by providing emergency assistance for housing, food
and basic needs.

Queen Anne Helpline is so grateful for all of our volunteers, donors and supporters - you make our work possible and help improve the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors. 
 
Please consider making a donation to help support  local families, seniors, and individuals. You can donate here
or visit our website:

Queen Anne Helpline
311 West McGraw
Seattle, WA  98119
206-282-1540