Issaquah Community Services needs donations to meet summer demand
July 17, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
The nonprofit organization Issaquah Community Services is facing increased demand for aid — so great the organization shut down for more than a week in June after exhausting funds for the month.
The organization since reopened to clients, but demand remains high, and leaders asked the public to consider donations in order for Issaquah Community Services to continue providing aid.
“The needs are really large and changing,” organization President Milicent Savage said July 9. “We find that people are needing assistance that they probably never thought they would have to have.”
How to help
In order to meet the increased demand, Issaquah Community Services reduced allotments from $300 to $200, and cut how often people can get help to once per year.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but to some people, that’s a lifesaver,” Savage said.
The organization offers rent assistance if eviction is imminent, help with utility bills if the provider is threatening shutoff or emergency transportation. The organization does not make direct payments to clients, and instead works with landlords and utilities to resolve problems.
Issaquah Community Services is the all-volunteer nonprofit organization responsible for dispersing aid to families living inside Issaquah School District boundaries.
Merry Christmas Issaquah is the organization’s most important fundraiser of the year. The fundraiser — spearheaded by The Issaquah Press since 1981 — set a donation record last year, but the $77,362 raised then is barely enough to meet demand.
The holiday fundraising drive accounts for about 65 percent of Issaquah Community Services’ annual budget.
Organizers set a $65,000 goal for 2011. The number of donors, 231, also set a record last year.
Issaquah Community Services is operated by about 25 volunteers. The city provides office space and overhead, so 100 percent of donations go to people in need.
The fund has received more than $785,000 in donations since starting in 1981.
In 2011, Issaquah Community Services provided more than $88,000 in assistance to local families — in the form of rent and utility assistance, or in some cases for bus fare.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.