One of Many Ways We Can Help Our Communities

Together we can make a difference, even if small.

Homer Smith Insurance (HSI) has long believed in supporting the communities in Jefferson and Clallam Counties where we all live and work.  Over the next couple of years, we have decided to select and highlight a “Charity of the Quarter” in the hopes of increasing awareness of how they help our community, as well as adding to the monetary contributions they receive.  Since there are so many local charities that do great work, the reality is we could keep picking a new charity to highlight every quarter for years to come!  We’re including a link to HSI’s newsletter (sent to our customers) which describes how we intend to increase our donations not only to ECHHO, but to many other local charities and nonprofits in the future.

The first “Charity of the Quarter” we’ve selected to highlight is ECHHO.  The following is a little about their history and what they do for Jefferson County.

In 1997 some members of the local community in East Jefferson County became aware that some of the elderly and disabled citizens needs were not being met, so they formed ECCHO (Ecumenical Christian Helping Hands Organization).  Volunteers were recruited to provide free transportation to medical appointments and shopping, as well as assisting with errands, household chores and yard work for those who were not able to complete these tasks themselves.

In 1998 ECHHO began their medical equipment loan program, including items such as wheelchairs and electric hospital beds, among other things.  In 2003 ECCHO was able to hire a part-time medical associate as well as two part-time staff associates who coordinate the requests for assistance with the available volunteers.

As time went on, ECHHO acquired grants and donations which allowed them to begin reimbursing volunteer drivers for their mileage and ferry trip costs.  ECCHO’s work continues to grow each year by receiving grants and donations from numerous state and local individuals and organizations.

ECHHO is always looking for volunteer drivers and for assistance in their office, and invites people who want to make a difference in others’ lives to call them at 360.379.3246.  They say volunteers can set their own pace by accepting or rejecting requests.

According to ECHHO’s website, Washington’s Jefferson County has the largest percentage of senior citizens in Washington State, and the 9th highest in the United States.  They say that over 5,000 households (42%) include people over the age of 65.  They have helped people from age 1 to 106!

Homer Smith Insurance supports ECHHO and, as we mentioned earlier, is trying to raise awareness and monetary donations, if even in a small way.  At the end of March 2021 we will be donating funds to ECHHO in conjunction with our current referral program.  If you are interested in reading more about this program or HSI’s charitable donations to the nonprofits and charities on the Olympic Peninsula, here is a link to more information in our newsletter, which was recently sent to our customers.

For many years we have appreciated the services that ECHHO has provided to citizens of Jefferson County, and hope this article has been helpful in showing some of their wonderful contributions to our community.

ECCHO is based in Port Townsend at 1110 Jefferson Street, and can be reached at 360.379.3246 or by email at info@echhojc.org.  ECHHO accepts donations in a variety of ways, as described on their web page.

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