Opinion

Our Voice: Tri-Citians with kind hearts give Safe Harbor a chance

The Tri-Cities has shown its unselfish spirit time and again, yet the outpouring of generosity still amazes us.

Such is the case with the overwhelming financial rescue of the Safe Harbor Support Center.

It was only about a month ago when officials at Safe Harbor made a plea for donations so it wouldn't have to close its doors completely. They were hoping to raise $30,000 from the community to buy some time while they worked to find more stable funding.

What ensued was the kind of story that touches the heart.

Gesa Credit Union stepped up with a fundraising effort that brought in more than $90,000, while other contributions raised another $15,000.

That brings the total raised in a month's time to more than $105,000, which is about one quarter of the nonprofit's annual budget.

It appears that when kids are in need, Tri-Citians don't disappoint.

Safe Harbor provides support for children dealing with trauma and who are in crisis situations, as well as help and training for families.

The program also supports My Friends Place, which is the only shelter for homeless teens in the Mid-Columbia. It helps an average of 8 to 12 youths a night, providing a safe place for them to stay and guidance to help them find security in their lives. Most importantly, it connects them to resources get them out of their unstable lifestyle.

Kids who don't have a suitable home have a hard time growing up to become self-supporting citizens. Investing in children's lives now can make a huge difference in society later. Safe Harbor helps the most vulnerable of children and gives them hope.

The nonprofit runs on an annual budget of about $400,000, but it recently took a revenue hit of $156,000 because of changes at the state level.

The agency didn't have much wiggle room in its budget to begin with, and the huge loss of funding was close to catastrophic.

But then Gesa pledged to help by offering to match donations up to $15,000. Word was spread and in no time at all money was pouring in.

While the community injection of cash will certainly help Safe Harbor officials manage their financial crisis, it is still a temporary solution.

A more stable form of funding is necessary to keep Safe Harbor from facing more financial problems in the future, and we hope that process does not take too long.

Safe Harbor provides a vital service to the community and it's obvious Tri-Citians believe in its purpose. They came to the rescue and offered overwhelming support.

It was a remarkable response and once again showed just how many kind, generous hearts live in the Tri-City area.

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