Let’s arrive with the whole family intact | In Our Opinion

Incomes are not keeping up with the cost of living in the Kingston area.

Income is below poverty level for 11.6 percent of Kingston residents between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, the median rent in the area is $1,042 a month. Twenty-three percent of Kingston households are considered by the United Way to be “Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed”; in Hansville, it’s 16 percent; in Indianola, 19 percent; in Port Gamble, 29 percent.

For most families, a job loss or a major medical expense means financial crisis. ShareNet is there to make sure people have what they need to stay on their feet. Our community is healthiest when all members of the community family are cared for and have what they need to survive and thrive.

“As a senior, I’ve found what I can afford to buy in the stores won’t see me through the month,” one resident wrote ShareNet. “ShareNet keeps me healthy.”

“Supporting a family on Disability is a challenge at best,” another wrote. “ShareNet not only supplies us with food but other items needed in the household, like hygiene products and pet food.”

Another resident wrote, “I am on a fixed income trying to make it, and now my grandson age 8 is with me. You help us make it, even kids’ shoes. Thank you.”

ShareNet answers the call 14,000 times a year: Emergency food provision, utility and rental assistance for those facing service interruption or eviction, and a weekend take-home food for school children. In addition, ShareNet sponsors events at Wolfle Elementary School, such as Family Math and Reading Night, and Love and Logic program for parents.

A large portion of ShareNet’s $150,000 annual budget comes from community donations, especially the annual Neighbor Aid campaign now underway. We encourage residents to give what they can. You might think your donation is a minor one, but added to the others it packs a mighty collective punch. Your donation is an investment in your family. You likely know someone who has or will turn to ShareNet for help. And if it happens to be you, well, ShareNet will have your back.

Someday, we hope, our journey will lead to a day when there is more economic opportunity for everyone. With ShareNet’s help, we will make it to that day with the whole family intact.

Donations are tax-deductible. To give to Neighbor Aid, text ShareNet to 85100. Or mail to P.O. Box 250, Kingston, WA 98346.