A brief history of the Clothing Bank, Disaster Relief Committee

  • Sun Nov 19th, 2017 11:26am
  • Life
Ginger Haberman all smiles in the center of the photo, burning the mortgage!

Ginger Haberman all smiles in the center of the photo, burning the mortgage!

Editors Note: With the passing of Ginger Haberman it is a good time to remember a local volunteer that was instrumental in the creation of several charitable entities that still exist today …due in part to her hard work.

The timeline:

Because of the Big Forest Fire in 1951, the Disaster Relief Committee was framed about 1955 as a committee within the Forks Community Council.

The purpose was to aid victims of home fires. For years it was headed by Helen Burdick, Peggy Perry and Kate Campbell and later they were assisted by Georgia Fraker and Ginger Haberman. The funding was supported by donations from the stores, clubs, and individuals. The operating budget was about $100 a year.

1971 — Ginger Haberman headed this committee. United Way Fund through the Forks Community Council became the main source of financial supported with$225. This along with donations of $125 made up a yearly budget of $350. In September of this year, a family of eight (Reaumes) burned out.

The outpouring from the community with donated clothing was tremendous. Good clothing the family could not use was given back to Ginger and stored in her home. This clothing was given to families in need. Over the next couple of years, clothing was dropped off at the Haberman home and distributed free to whoever needed it.

1975 — The need of a Clothing Bank was brought to the Community Council. There was no local organized place for people to donate good used clothing, and the need for a ready source of clothing was evident.

1976 — The Clothing Bank was started as one of the activities of Disaster Relief committee. Kate Campbell donated an old house rent free, some fixtures and clothing. The first years it was open only one day about every other month. The sale of used clothing this first year brought in $185, but the main financial support for the Disaster Committee was still United Way and private donations. The total yearly budget was $510.

1979 — The Clothing Bank opened on a regular weekly basis (every Wednesday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.). The price was $1 for a bag of clothing. The yearly income of $665 through the Clothing Bank, $60 donation from the Erwin Edward Memorial and $300 from United Way gave the Disaster Relief a total budget of $1,025. Over the last few years, aid was expanded to victims of other disasters besides home fires.

1981 — The Clothing Bank was moved to the location on Bogachiel Way into a small two-story home rented from Aggies Nielson. The open days were expanded to Wednesdays and Fridays (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) and the price raised to $2 a bag. This year, $6,100 was raised which totally supported the Disaster Committee and the operations of the Clothing Bank. United Way support was dropped. Of the $6,100 half was used to pay expenses for the Clothing Bank and the other half was used to aid the needy through the Disaster Relief. Since over $3,000 was available yearly for Disaster Relief, aid was expanded to cover many small emergencies (e.g. car gas for medical travel, prescription, dental, shoes for children) with $35 for the individual cases and $150 for burnouts set as suggested limits.

1982 — Because of an excess of funds, three bonds totaling $2000 (one for $1,000 and two for $500) were purchased at SeaFirst Bank for the Disaster Relief Committee. These will act as a reserve in case of a large major disaster and to assure the continuance for the Disaster Fund and Clothing Bank.

1986 — A very cold winter caught us by surprise and the Clothing Bank pipes froze and busted. Thanks to the volunteer services of Archer’s Plumbing and a lot of work by volunteers we were back in business (minus any hot water or a bathroom sink).

1989 — We started giving refurbished toys to V.F.W. for Christmas baskets. We gave about 20 bags full of toys.

1990 — In July, we expanded the Clothing Bank hour to Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It takes about 15 volunteers to keep these hours open. Occasionally over the years, we have had people assigned to us from the counts to work off fines. Our income this year raised to $7,100+. Due to a garbage problem, we have also had to start commercial garbage pick up (three cans/week, cost of $22 a month), plus one pickup load hauled every other month (cost of $20 each time). Through the St. Vincent DePaul in Port Angeles we have found an outlet for recycled clothing. In 6 months we shipped out about 160 bags (4,800 pounds) of clothing. Also with the help of John Leppell we send clothing to Retsil, a Veterans nursing home.

1991 — We tried to expand our hours to a Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and changed the Friday hours to 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The Saturday shift lasted about three months until the lack of volunteers forced us to eliminate it.

Garbage began to become a bigger and bigger problem, so we started hauling our own at a cost of about $30 to $40 a month for a huge truckload. We began sending clothes to Lazereth House in Seattle (for street people) and we began receiving clothing from the Olympic Prison system (mostly underwear) which we share with Seattle. The job recession in our area due to the timber/owl issue has caused an ever-increasing need for the disaster funds. Also, the need of a new building is becoming more and more evident. We have had pipes freeze about every winter, have no water in the kitchen now, the refrigerator went out years ago, no heat on the lower floor (the fireplace has been too unsafe to use for the last two years), wiring and lighting are inadequate, and termites are eating the building, the roof is starting to leak and storage space for garbage and recycle clothing is inadequate.

1992 — We started organizing a board of directors for the Disaster Relief Committee/Clothing Bank in the hopes of being able to apply for a grant to purchase or build a building that would meet our needs ,and one we could share with the Food Bank (as they are also in unsatisfactory facilities). The Forks Basic Service Coalition/Center (FBC/C) was formed with the Food Bank, The Clothing Bank and The Forks Abuse Program. Jo Davies was hired as a grant writer. We found a very desirable building, price $175,000. Our goal with closing cost and remodeling is $220,000.

In December bank accounts were opened in all three banks to develops a financial fund and a show of community support for the building project.

1993 — By January we had more than $10,000 in our FBSC/C Building Fund and in February, $14,000 ($2,500 from the Disaster Relief). In May, the FBSC/C held a very successful raffle with $4,400 raised. By June, we have $35,000 in our fund (including a $10,000 grant from PTI). On Dec. 30, we put $75,000 down on the Dilley Building.

1994 — In January, FBSC took possession of the Dilley building with a debt of $113,000. Byt the end of February we moved out of our old building. It took two months to do remodeling, set up and open the new business (May 6, 1994).

We expanded our days to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon-4 p.m. On June 26, we held an open house for the new building; the debt is now only $57,300. After two months, our income from sales and donations has increased 54 percent (average $1,202 a month) over last year (average, $653). We started sending shoes, medical supplies and toys to Mexico with Pat Kaletka of Port Angeles.

1995 — In January, the debt on building was only $25,000 plus $17,000 to have ceiling lowered. A microwave from John Newhouse and a copy machine from Senior Assistance (Char Carte) was donated. We retired our debt on the building in August and started remodeling ceiling of Clothing Bank in the fall.

1996 — The ceiling was lowered, new lights added as well as an electric heater (donated by Bert Paul), plus a storage area up stairs (with pull-down stairs) was finished and paid for in February. Our total income for the first full year in the new building was $15,028.52 (sales $11,997.33, tax $934.63, donations $2,2053.23, interest $43.33) We have nine full-time volunteers (once a week) and 11 part-time volunteers. Ross and Betty Jones donated a refrigerator. Edith Allen donated the cost to have a rug installed. We purchased a new vacuum cleaner. In March, a Clothing Bank in Thompson Falls, Mont., was started by Sammie Helvey, formerly from Forks. We supplied them with about 32 boxes of clothing. We also sent 30 boxes of clothing to Los Angeles School to needy Hispanic families.

In November, the expansion of the area between Windfall and the Clothing Bank was built by the inmates of Clearwater Corrections Facility; now operating with 10 full- time and 10 part-time volunteers plus court workers and school students (four doing their Senior Class Projects). The end-of-year balance was too high so we donated money, to Sunshine and Rainbow, The Caring Place, Hispanic Ladies Association, Clallam Bay Crises Fund and Medicine for Mexico. The total given was $2,000.

1997 — We started sending clothing to Mexico by way of California. St. Anne’s Catholic pays the UPS fee and we provide the clothing. We sent 28 boxes plus 10 more with Pat Kaletka, and gave financial donations to Forks Youth Center $500 and $300 to Chore Workers and transportation in Forks area.

1998 — We started sending clothing to New Mexico Navajo reservation (33 boxes) and Canadian native village (six large garbage bags). Our yearly income has balanced out to about $16,000 (sales $12,791, tax $1,017, donations $2,192). We also had to purchase a new small refrigerator.

1999-2000 — We sent clothing to Puerto Rico stuffed in cars going there.

2000 — In August, we started opening on the first Saturday of the month, from noon-3 p.m.

2002 — We felt the need to hire a store manager to oversee the volunteers and court workers, price linens, do cleaning, and replace the director when she is gone. We raised the prices to ensure that we have enough money to meet wages. The last time prices went up was in 1994, when we moved into the present building. For now, the pay is $7.50 an hour, with 20 hours-a-week as a limit. We hired Brenda Rogers for one month, then hired Gerry Banner. A donation of $5,000 given to us for Christmas toys. Money was raised as a joint LaPush, Forks and Hispanic effort called “Healing Circle” (later called “Cherish the Children”).

2003 — Being that we have a paid position, we qualified for a Work First employee paid for by Washington state. We had two this year. The Healing Circle Funds were $3,700 this year and we provided free toys for 297 children. Our sales income for the year was $17,476.43.

2004 — We hired Sabastian Johns as our store manager. She had been a volunteer since 2000. We also installed a new rug in our store at the cost of $7,267.

2005 — We started managing the funds for Forks Hospice. They wanted the money donated in Forks to be for those needing hospice help in Forks. The fund was $430. This year, our total income was $34,954.71 — of that, $4,500 was for Christmas toys and $430 for Hospice. Clothing Bank brought in $25,130 in sales and $2,677.79 in donations.

2006 — The prison at Clallam Bay donated about 300 winter coats with liners but did not want any sold of given locally, as they were guards coats. We sent coats to Ukraine, to two Native American villages in Montana two places in Idaho ad four locations in Alaska. Over the years we have sent clothing to Mexico (three times every year), Puerto Rico twice, Philippines each year, a native village in B.C., Canada, and Bosnia.

2007 — The income for the year was $38,415. Of that, $6,315 go for Christmas toys. Sales were $26,532 and donations, $2,741. We are running out of room so are planning to expand 88 square feet out back for storage. Also, we hope to buy a new heater.

And the efforts continue to today in 2017.