Remember the “small town, big hearts” era in Eatonville? I still have my t-shirt with hearts. We were all proud of the way we took care of our own. But how well did we take care of our own?
In the course of my volunteering, I noted that our town opened its hearts and wallets to the well-known, the members of longtime families, etc. But others – the newcomers and least-known – were left needing. That is why I started C.A.R.E. about one and a half years ago. C.A.R.E. (Contributiions and Aid from Residents of Eatonville) was designed to help those two-out-of-three needy people who would otherwise fall through the cracks.
Everyone could contribute $5 or $10 or even $20, any time, into the C.A.R.E. account at First Citizens Bank, thanks to Joy Bamford, and know that contribution would be dispersed fairly by three knowledgeable trustees – Gail Elliott Cronkite, then-director at Eatonville Family Agency; Pat Jenkins, editor of The Dispatch; and Robert Schaub, Town Council member. Donations would have been tax-deductible, and very helpful. A big thanks to Mount Rainier Eagles and Daybreak Lions Club for their payments to the IRS to get the program started.
In January 2012, I nearly lost my right foot, and after two operations and eight months of recovery, I came home to find out that the only money in the C.A.R.E. account was the amount I had deposited before my illness.The big hearts were absent from our small town. I must now close the C.A.R.E. account, before the IRS decides to penalize it. I am sorry that some people will still take that fall through the cracks.