Small agency shares its big heart with Sequim

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"People who care about doing something for their neighbor." That's how Donna Tidrick sees the volunteers and donors to Sequim Community Aid.

That attitude is supported by the whole community through the "Community Warm Tree" in the foyer of Sequim's Rite Aid store. Tags on the tree identify gifts of clothing needed by children in the Sequim area, and anyone can take a tag, then purchase and return the wrapped gift to the store.

The community giving tree is only part of Sequim Community Aid's Christmas season effort. They also collect blankets and warm coats at Blue Sky Real Estate, 190 S. Priest Road, and have a toy collection point at the Clallam County Fire District 3 station on North Fifth Avenue in Sequim.

Jo Cummins, a Sequim resident off and on since 1952, heads up the blanket drive. "We have done this for years," she said. Indicating a growing pile of new and used blankets and warm coats, she said, "(The agents) will be bringing more to the Realtors' meeting on Wednesday."

60 years' service

Sequim Community Aid was founded more than 60 years ago, and Tidrick has been a volunteer since 1983. "We're not a new agency. There's no office, no paid employees," Tidrick said.

The agency operates the Christmas season collections for local needy families, but it is active all year, helping people who are struggling through tough times. It makes emergency payments to landlords and the PUD to prevent evictions and utility shut-offs. At times it also provides propane.

In spite of its small size, Sequim Community Aid makes a big difference to many in the Sequim area. During its last fiscal year, it paid more than $35,000 to the PUD and landlords.

People seeking help from Sequim Community Aid don't have to wait for an eviction notice, Tidrick said. The agency prefers to help people avoid the eviction notices and shut-off notices, which can damage credit.

Agency volunteers visit the homes of those seeking help. Tidrick cited this practice as a key to learning the true scope of needs a family may have. The home visit reveals far more than the written application or office interview that many agencies use.

Residents of the Sequim School District who need help can contact Sequim Community Aid at 681-3731.

Contact Sandra Frykholm at

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