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United Way lends El Centro a helping hand
Just when it appeared that El Centro de la Familias fate was sealed as part of the Kitsap Health Districts budget cuts, the United Way of Kitsap County stepped in to rescue the program.
United Way executive director David Foote officially announced the organizations offer of a $40,000 community challenge grant to help El Centro, which helps Hispanic families with everything from parenting education to finding the community resources they need.
I thought very hard about what we could do to help the situation, because at United Way community matters to us, and its what were about, Foote said as the dozens of El Centro supporters applauded the gift. The grant is the first of its kind offered by the United Way of Kitsap County.
The Kitsap Credit Union made the first $1,000 donation to the campaign and has an account set up to accept donations to meet the $40,000 challenge grant goal.
The United Way is lending a hand, but it comes down to what the community is going to do, Foote said.
Health district director Scott Lindquist called Foote his new best friend and said his family will match the credit unions gift.
When you have good people you can find good solutions, South Kitsap County Commissioner Jan Angel said, as El Centro was taken off the chopping block.
I thank Dr. Lindquist and Kitsap Credit Union for helping out, said UW volunteer Rick Cortez.
Saving El Centro will help empower the Hispanic community to step up and return the generosity it has received, Cortez said.
Kitsap Literacy Council volunteer Lauren Leider also thanked the United Way and the health district for working together to save such an important program.
I work with ESL (English as a second language) adults and I just want to thank you on behalf of all the families, Leider said.
However, just because the United Way has stepped up with the grant, its still up to the community to provide the matching funds, Lindquist cautioned.
Before the meeting, UW director of resource development Patricia Hennessy said the hope is that the grant will allow El Centro time to develop a long-term viable operation plan.
Hopefully El Centro will emerge from this better than ever, Hennessy said. If the community wants it, it will step up.