Although it opened in 1995, surprisingly few Islanders are aware of the Orcas Community Resource Center (OCRC). This is partially due to the fact that it began as a tiny appendage to our preschools, tasked only with increasing parenting skills and support for young families. As recently as 2015, the Orcas Community Resource Center (OCRC), then known as Orcas Family Connections, was confined to a single room within the Kaleidoscope Preschool and Childcare Center. Its staffing consisted of one full-time employee! A history of the OCRC may be found in Our History.
Wow, how things have changed! Starting in 2015, with significant and ongoing help from the Orcas Island Community Foundation (OICF) and private donors, OCRC began to develop a complete public/private safety net for Orcas’ most vulnerable residents. Staffing has increased to 8 full-time employees, and OCRC moved to attractive new quarters at the corner of Prune Alley/North Beach and Rose Street (374-A North Beach Road).
The assistance provided is caring, confidential, and focused on helping people solve their problems, get the resources needed for their well-being, and attain self-sufficiency. Staff at OCRC help clients apply for health, disability, and veteran’s benefits; obtain rental/mortgage assistance, energy assistance, transportation assistance, and food and household essentials; achieve housing stability, exit homelessness, and access special programs such as dental/vision care and job training. Staff are available to help people weather a crisis or a run of bad luck. Every day, OCRC provides a bridge for many to connect to services, such as the following:
In accomplishing the above, and more, OCRC staff partner with local neighbors, businesses, and like-minded public and private organizations, including the United Way, San Juan County, the Northwest Washington Opportunity Council, and the Northwest Regional Council. Year after year, OCRC brings valuable services to hundreds of island households, whose needs are far greater than most people probably imagine. Without OCRC, all this valuable assistance would be lost!
OCRC operations are partially funded through administrative fees associated with the government programs — federal, state, and county — that are leveraged. But those government dollars have never covered OCRC's full costs. As a result, OCRC relies on private donations to meet a significant share of its operating costs. Every dollar helps change lives and helps attain our collective wish to be a caring community. Have YOU donated yet? If not, it’s easy. Simply click on the donate button below or mail a check to: Orcas Community Resource Center, PO Box 931, Eastsound, WA 98245.
~Submitted by Steve Jung for OCRC