Typically, people have to pay for burial plots at a cemetery but residents of Hansville, past or present, who have resided in the community for at least one year are eligible for a free one at the Hansville Cemetery.
That rare benefit is courtesy of Hansville Helping Hands & Cemetery.
The organization is a 501(c)(13) nonprofit cemetery, meaning it operates for the benefit of community members and does not make a profit. HHH started in the late 1940s and was originally called Hansville Ladies Aid until its name changed in 2015. There are about 28 members.
“The cemetery’s been around forever,” HHH president Beth Layton said. “There’s quite a few privately owned cemeteries that are run by community groups. Until I moved to Hansville, I never knew the possibility of getting a burial plot for free. We try to help with the logistics of the burial.”
HHH not only runs the cemetery, but it also prides itself on offering community service to Hansville residents. The organization provides many needs for its small community.
It manages a medical equipment lending program, which assisted about 90 individuals in 2022. They obtain equipment and loan it out as needed, and the patient returns it when it’s no longer needed.
Transportation can be tough to get in the little community on the northern edge of Kitsap County. So HHH provides transportation to ShareNet Food Bank and medical appointments, services that aren’t available in town.
“Out here in Hansville there aren’t that many services,” Layton said. “As more and more retired people moved out here, it was obviously something the membership thought we could provide a service for.”
And if that’s not enough, HHH supplements the food pantry on Hansville Road.
Most recently, HHH assisted in the purchase of a new freezer for ShareNet, purchased backpacks for students needing support at the start of the school year, provided food vouchers to residents in need at Thanksgiving, hosted a toy drive for the ShareNet/Bayside Christmas Shop in December, sponsored multiple families and youths with gifts during the holidays, and hosted food drives in partnership with the Greater Hansville Community Center.
“We have two missions – one is to maintain the cemetery in perpetuity and the other is to help our neighbors that have need—whether it be medical equipment, ice machines, walkers, wheelchairs, toilet risers, etc.,” Layton said. “It’s quite an extensive inventory of equipment that mostly is donated.”
As a nonprofit, fundraising events are critical for HHH. There are several this year, including the Kitsap Great Give April 11. Early donations can be made April 1-10. The Garden Tour is set for July 8. Last year, there were over 250 attendees. The Arts & Crafts Market is scheduled for Nov. 11. In past years, there have been about 20 independent vendors selling handmade items. The event also includes a bake sale.
HHH has also hosted a McTakeover at the Kingston McDonald’s for several years. The McTakeover is set for Dec. 13 from 5-7 p.m. HHH receives a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of discount coupon booklets, with a portion also donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Layton has been with HHH since 2020 after moving to Hansville from Bainbridge Island. She was treasurer but was elevated to president in February. Her goals include creating more community interest in HHH so people know all it has to offer, as well as growing its membership.