‘Loud’ event raises $10K to aid disabled

Posted 7/31/19

The Hawaiian shirts were as loud as the music at the Pourhouse July 21, as the Gatheringplace celebrated its 25 years in Port Townsend.

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‘Loud’ event raises $10K to aid disabled

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The Hawaiian shirts were as loud as the music at the Pourhouse July 21, as the Gatheringplace celebrated its 25 years in Port Townsend.

The swinging shindig, featuring a mid-afternoon performance from local blues-rock favorite Micaela Kingslight, raised close to $10,000 for the nonprofit on behalf of adults with disabilities.

Linda Ferris, founding director of Gatheringplace, explained the money would be used to retain and hire new staff for the cooking program, the art classes and the dog biscuit bakery.

“To augment the program, we would like to secure transportation for our participants, so that they can go on community outings,” Ferris said. “Also, we would like to provide or help fund transportation to our program for those in need.”

Ferris reported 48 people donated 129 auction items, which were bid on by 26 individuals, many of whom bid on more than one item.

“Many of the auction items we received were from friends and family of the participants, as well as our supportive community sponsors,” said Ferris, who noted one of those donors was Gatheringplace client and painter Craig Rogers, who chipped in two paintings “and one beautifully detailed painted birdhouse. An array of auction items, including arts and crafts items, came from our talented volunteers.”

Donations were also received from new and returning sponsors from the Port Townsend area and Seattle.

Ferris outlined Gatheringplace’s goals for the event as threefold.

“In 1994, Janet Ramsey and I sat at my kitchen table to outline our vision for Gatheringplace,” Ferris said. “Because of her support, our vision is now a reality. This event was a way to thank her and all of our volunteers, past and present, for their gift of time and steadfast support.”

The second reason to “gather” was to celebrate 25 years of serving adults with developmental and other disabilities in the Jefferson County area.

“We wanted to take this opportunity to continue our goal of bringing community awareness to our creative and inspiring program,” Ferris said. “And as always, fundraising for a small nonprofit never stops.”

As part of that third and final goal of fundraising, the event’s silent auction was able to highlight the artistic talent of Gatheringplace’s participants, show off those dog biscuits and inaugurate its raffle, which sold 238 of 250 tickets.

The prizes included two tickets each for three mainstage jazz events donated by Centrum, a beer-tasting for 10 donated by the Pourhouse, two 50-yard line Seahawk tickets donated by CF Resources in Seattle, and two round-trip tickets on Hawaiian airlines to any Hawaiian island, donated by Ferris herself and her husband.

Events such as this are essential to Gatheringplace’s fundraising.

“Most grant money can’t be used for hiring staff,” Ferris said. “Continued fundraising such as this event, our well-known calendar and our ongoing presence at the farmers market, all become critical in order to support the staffing of our programs.”

Ferris said Gatheringplace’s future needs include equipment for the dog biscuit bakery and funds to meet the criteria of their matching grants.

She welcomed people to contribute their time, talents, fundraising efforts and donations, including by utilizing matching gift programs from their own employers.

Members of the Olympic Neighbors team, who provide residential and community inclusion services to adults with developmental disabilities in the area, were also on hand for the Gatheringplace celebration July 21.

Bob Wheeler, president of Olympic Neighbors, noted that his group and Gatheringplace serve many of the same people, and invited the community to attend Olympic Neighbors’ fundraising social event at the Pourhouse on Aug. 18 from 2-8 p.m., complete with its own silent auction and live music.

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