Making a difference in Quincy Valley
L&R Café was buzzing with customers last Saturday as it was the chosen location for the Quincy Senior Center Make A Difference Day fundraiser. Customers were served up hot cups of coffee, fluffy pancakes and sausages at $5 (for seniors and children) and $10 a plate. It was a good value for a worthwhile cause, bringing in about $1,100.
“We came to support the Senior Center,” said Quincy resident Carol Golay. “We support our community. That’s what our family does.”
Senior Center director Stacia Soukup mentioned that the bulk of the money from fundraising will go toward fixing the Senior Center van that is used for field trips.
“The van is in need of about $8,000 worth of body work,” Soukup said.
There are other things that the Senior Center needs as well, including the installation of handicapped doors in the bathrooms and main entry.
“It’s really embarrassing to those with needs to always have to ask someone to open the door,” Soukup continued.
Currently, cookie sales at the Senior Center are up. The cookies have been very popular and well received by the community. Membership and lunch sales are also up, but the funds are falling short to meet all of the needs of the Quincy Senior Center.
Soukup encourages anyone who can to call 787-3231 to make a donation.
Susie Hendrickson, the owner of L&R, is also challenging local businesses to make $100 donations to the Quincy Senior Center.
Other projects for Make A Difference Day, Oct. 26, included collecting supplies for the Quincy Animal Shelter. Organized by Dottie Van Baugh, the project collected many toys, blankets and some large bags of dog food.
At the hospital, a group of ladies was busy sewing washable feminine hygiene kits for third-world countries. This project was part of Days For Girls, an international charity that ships these supplies all around the world. Last year, the Quincy group sent 100 kits to Haiti and may again do so this year. Everything in the kits is donated, including underwear, which was purchased with funds from the Quincy Presbyterian church.
The washable sanitary pads are made with a soft cotton flannel and a waterproof barrier that slides in between two pieces of material.
There is a reason the pads are made of cloth, and not of disposable plastic.
“They have no sanitation for disposables,” said Mandy Ottley, project coordinator.
Having such supplies available to people in first-world countries is something that is often taken for granted, according to Audrey Seaberg.
Ottley explained that when the pad needs to be changed out, it can be placed in a plastic zippered bag, and then washed out using a bar of soap. All of these items are included in the kit.
The kits are worked on once a month during the fall and winter.
“So many of these countries don’t have any supplies at all,” Ottley added.
In many countries, girls have no feminine hygiene supplies and can’t go to school for up to a week at a time. The girls end up missing up to nine weeks of classes each year and fall farther and farther behind.
Another Make A Difference Day project was the Hat Project. Just over 200 hats were distributed to Mattawa Elementary. According to Bonnie Kniveton, 894 hats were distributed to Quincy schools. Numbers were low this year because Pioneer and Monument didn’t need any. About 1,600 hats were given out to Quincy kids last year.
Bonnie Kniveton has been involved in several Make A Difference Days off and on since 2005. There used to be awards given out to the best project, however there is no more funding. A project in Wenatchee was the first to ever win.
In 2012, Kniveton organized a project that involved selling T-shirts to raise money for the Fred Hutchinson Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. About $4,800 was raised from the sales.
“There is no official National Make a Difference Day anymore,” Kniveton explained. “There are no monetary awards. We were judged in the past.”
Make A Difference Day is now taken on independently by people in their communities who simply want to make the world a little better, one difference at a time. Kniveton stressed that making a difference can involve doing anything we want. It doesn’t have to be a large project. It can be as simple as baking cookies to bring over to the local police department or raking your neighbor’s lawn.
“You can go to the community to look for project funding from local clubs or businesses,” Kniveton suggested.
There are other ways to raise awareness for a cause that involve no money exchanging hands, including writing letters to the editor to get some publicity for a project idea. Kniveton made her own flyers for the pancake breakfast fundraiser for the Senior Center. A lot of the projects that make a difference are happening all year long, so if you feel like you want to make a difference, you don’t have to wait until October to do so.
For more information about Make A Difference Day in Quincy, call Bonnie Kniveton at 509-787-3912.
By Tammara Green, For the Post-Register