Whidbey Raises Over $109,000 for Essential Needs Program

Together with many generous members of the community, the Goosefoot Community Fund and the Whidbey Community Foundation (WCF) partnered for a third year to raise funds for the Essential Needs Program – that supports our Island neighbors through challenging times. This year we raised over $109,000!

Whether you donated directly, rounded up at The Goose Grocer, or helped spread the word – we thank you for making the 3rd Annual Fundraiser for the Essential Needs Program so successful. Your donations help fill temporary financial gaps that aren’t met through existing funding streams, and are administered by the Opportunity Council – Island County Service Center. Together we have helped over 300 households, most of whom earn less than 30% of the median income in Island County. For the local Whidbey households that receive this support, a small amount can make or break whether they can continue to contribute to, participate in and enrich our community. We all benefit when they have their essential needs met.

“The fact that surpassed our goal again this year makes me think that generosity must be in everyone’s DNA in our remarkable community. It’s astonishing how much people give — over and over — to ensure our neighbors get the support they need when they need it. Yes, even 27 cents can truly make a difference when so many others pitch in too.”

Elise Miller, Goosefoot Community Fund, Executive Director

“On my current caseload, I have 6 active families who have utilized the Essential Needs Program for furniture. I know many more have used it in the past. All have been grateful but one family showed extreme gratitude and you could see the relief lift off of them as I spoke to them about the funding to help. Before coming into the program they lost everything in a house fire and caused the family to become homeless. Essential Needs was able to help them get beds for them and their children. I could go on about different clients, we all are so thankful for the funding in the essential needs program. As a provider it is nice to validate the client in crisis by saying ‘that is a need, I understand your stress, and we have funding that can help.”

Housing Case Manager, Opportunity Council (Island County)

Starting in May 2023, 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 $100,000. The Goose Community Grocer again designated the Essential Needs Program as their Roundup for Charity recipient from May through July and alone raised over $29,000. The Goose team exceeded their previous year total by $3,000 and had their single biggest month in Roundup history. Because of these generous donations and our community partnerships, the fundraiser met and surpassed its goal with a final total of $109,168. Thank you, Whidbey!

“We are honored to have the opportunity to facilitate this program! It brings our team at OC great joy to be able to say yes more than we normally do! Having flexible funds to assist folks who are struggling is quite amazing! Thank you to our amazing community for your generosity, along with Goosefoot, the Goose staff and the Whidbey Community Foundation for all that you do to support our community and our efforts as a partner agency.”

Melissa Frasch-Brown, Island County Service Center, Director
Elise Miller (Goosefoot), Angela Ceccarelli (Opportunity Council), Steve Lamb (The Goose Community Grocer), Jaime Owens (Opportunity Council), Angela Ceccarelli (Opportunity Council), Jessie Gunn (Whidbey Community Foundation)

“Our community continues to amaze me! What a true testament to the generosity of Whidbey that each year for the past three years we have exceeded our fundraising goal for the Essential Needs Program. Philanthropy is a love of giving and helping one another. Thank you Whidbey for helping one another!”

Jessie Gunn
Whidbey Community Foundation, Executive Director

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 supporting the Essential Needs Program. We are neighbors helping neighbors and it’s truly amazing how the community rallies to support each other. Being here at The Goose Community Grocer, we get to see firsthand how something as small as a few cents can become life changing support when we all pitch in. Many hands truly make light work.”

Kayla Leganza, Goose Community Grocer, Store Director

“It’s a privilege to be associated with the Essential Needs program. It makes me proud of my community and my company that they are willing to reach out and give to those in need. It’s very humbling and rewarding to see the results and know that we have made a difference in the lives of those in our Whidbey Island family.”

Steve Lamb, Goose Community Grocer, Assistant Store Director

“The Essential Needs program is a very popular Round-UP here at the Goose Grocery.  It is so heartwarming how generous our customers and community are to help this great program succeed and help so many!”

Kathy Burton, Goose Community Grocer, Bookkeeper

Learn more about the Essential Needs Program and donate directly at goosefoot.org/essential-needs/ or whidbeyfoundation.org/essential-needs-program/.

Assistance is available via Opportunity Council Island County Service Center! Learn more at oppco.org/locations/island-county/.

Goosefoot Community Fund
https://www.facebook.com/goosefootcommunityfund https://www.instagram.com/goosefoot_community_fund/

Whidbey Community Foundation

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/.