Anonymous donor another example of Valley's generosity

The donor gave $7,000 to cover a shortfall in funds to keep Helpline helping those in need.


The recession that hit the nation a couple years back seems to have settled in like the February fog. Sure, we know it's going to lift, but when?

The sputtering economy combined with soaring gasoline prices (as well as other goods) have made it even more difficult for folks with modest incomes to make ends meet.

Social service agencies and charitable organizations in the Walla Walla Valley are finding their services are in higher demand and their resources are being stretched thin.

The situation for Helpline, a local organization that offers food, housing and other assistance to those in need, was dire. It was faced by a serious shortfall -- more than $7,000 -- in its rental assistance fund.

On average, Helpline assists 18 to 20 families per month by subsidizing up to 30 percent of their monthly rent to prevent eviction or to move them from homelessness to permanent shelter. The number of families being helped is up from early 2010, said Dan Willms, Helpline's executive director.

The funding shortage threatened to derail Helpline's good work, which would ultimately hurt the entire community.

Well, you already know exactly what happened next. It's the same thing that always happens in Walla Walla -- the community met the need.

In this case, one generous person stepped forward to fill the gap. On Friday a person-- who wishes to remain anonymous -- gave $7,000 to Blue Mountain Community Foundation Executive Director Lawson Knight to pass along to Helpline.

This, Knight said, was a case of Walla Walla doing what Walla Walla does best -- meeting a need.

"One of the greatest quality-of-life assets that we enjoy is the generosity of our citizenry," Knight said.

And he's absolutely right.

Just this year, for example, United Way of Walla Walla County reached an ambitious goal to raise $420,000. The people of the Valley stepped forward to pledge nearly $438,000.

It's a testament to the generosity of those who live in the Walla Walla Valley.


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