Photo courtesy Carrie Sohn: Queen Anne Helpline’s Lisa Barnes accepts locally made hand sanitizer from donor Carrie Sohn. The community has supported the nonprofit in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but future fundraisers, including the Give Big and Giving Tuesday campaigns May 5 and May 6, will be important to Queen Anne Helpline moving forward.
Photo courtesy Carrie Sohn: Queen Anne Helpline’s Lisa Barnes accepts locally made hand sanitizer from donor Carrie Sohn. The community has supported the nonprofit in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but future fundraisers, including the Give Big and Giving Tuesday campaigns May 5 and May 6, will be important to Queen Anne Helpline moving forward.

Queen Anne Helpline is hoping local residents will help the nonprofit organization offset any losses it may face later in the year by donating to an upcoming fundraiser.

Annual fundraisers benefiting nonprofits Give Big and Giving Tuesday have partnered for two days, May 5 and May 6, and MaChell Duma, Queen

Anne Helpline communications development manager, said these fundraising opportunities are crucial this year.

When Gov. Jay Inslee ordered non-essential businesses to close and restaurants and bars to modify their operations in a sweeping attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases, Queen Anne Helpline was barraged with calls from people seeking help from the organization, which offers financial assistance for housing and utilities, as well as a food, hygiene and clothing bank.

“We’ve always kind of served as that bridge,” Duma said. “We’ve just been crushed with people who need our assistance.”

The Give Big campaign will play an important part in the helpline’s efforts to aid people this year.

“Corporate matches are very strong if people give on those days,” Duma said. “So we’re hoping that this year, that will be the case.”

Duma said, normally, people would approach people in their offices about donating, and in some cases kick off an inner-office competition. Hopefully, she said, the people working from home will fill the void.

She said it is important for Queen Anne Helpline to do well during the Give Big fundraiser to make up for any lost revenue from future fundraisers.

Out of necessity, Duma and helpline staff and volunteers are also looking at other ways to raise money for the organization. In the past, fundraising has been event-based, but with the coronavirus pandemic leaving everything uncertain, Duma is thinking outside of the box.

For one event coming up, Queen Anne Helpline is partnering with a neighborhood restaurant, Bite Box, for a Happy Hour from Home. The event will feature boxes people can purchase with their choice of wine, sparkling water, champagne and assorted appetizers and desserts. On the evening of the happy hour, Duma said people can enjoy the boxes at the same time. All proceeds will go to the Helpline.

“So I’m kind of stoked about that because it’ll be a fun little initiative,” Duma said, adding she is looking for other local restaurant partners for future happy hour events.

Another fundraiser benefiting the helpline is its annual 5-kilometer run. This year, however, it will be a virtual run from home, featuring digital courses of popular spots in Queen Anne, Duma said.

“We like the idea of getting people moving while they’re stuck at home,” she said.

Duma said they are hoping people might be able to go out for some of the runs, but for now it will be a digital event with people encouraged to use safety precautions. She said she’d like it if people who signed up received something special, like a Queen Anne Helpline mask.

“We definitely don’t want people to break [safety] restrictions,” Duma said. “The masks just seem like a good product people need.”

The helpline’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the Taste of Queen Anne gala in the fall, will also likely be a little different.

Duma said she is already contemplating her options for the event, whether people are together but distant or if restaurants put together meal kits and the event is hosted online.

“This year, if we are able to work with restaurants, we’d like to give back to them,” Duma said. “We’ll be purchasing the food from them, but the reality is, we probably will not all be together.”

Duma has some time to figure out how best to plan the Taste of Queen Anne, but she is still looking at other ways to raise money, such as monthly campaigns to support the organization throughout the year instead of waiting to raise the bulk of the funds at one event in the fall.

“What I’m looking at now is helping transition into more steady, affordable monthly donations for people, which is better for the budget and more affordable to everyone,” Duma said. “Hopefully people will become more acclimated to this style of giving.”

To donate to the Give Big event, go to www.givebigwa.org/queen-anne-helpline.

People can also go to the Queen Anne Helpline website to learn other ways to give, queenannehelpline.org/ways-to-give/.

Currently, Queen Anne Helpline is not accepting clothing donations because the facility is currently at capacity.

The organization still accepts food donation drop offs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays. Volunteers also deliver a bag of groceries and hygiene items to people in the 98109, 98119 and 98199 zip codes.

Shelf-stable groceries and unused hygiene products are always welcome donations, Duma said.

For more information, go to queenannehelpline.org.