Dine Out to End Homelessness

Lacee Root of La Conner volunteers with the Anacortes Family Center and helped tell people more about the organization during the recent Dine and Shop Out to End Homelessness event.

Hundreds of people grabbed a bite to eat or picked up something from a store Feb. 7 to help benefit the Anacortes Family Center.

The shelter, which serves women, kids and families, hosted its fifth annual Dine Out to End Homelessness. This year, it included stores and restaurants, so a portion of money spent at participating businesses went to the nonprofit.

The shelter is currently home to 18 women, four men and 34 kids and has a wait list of about 15 families. It has an annual budget of about $500,000 for the year. All money raised during this fundraiser goes toward facility operation costs.

Raffle ticket sales alone brought in about $20,000.

“The raffle sales were higher than they have ever been,” the center’s Executive Director Dustin Johnson said.

When the other payments come in, the total should be at least $30,000, though exact numbers from the 28 participating businesses and restaurants aren’t available yet.

This is the biggest number of participants, too, Johnson said.

“We don’t need to approach restaurants to participate anymore,” Johnson said. “They call us. This is our fifth year doing this fundraiser, and it has gained a lot of momentum.”

Inside participating restaurants, board members and volunteers with a lot of knowledge of the organization set up information tables and chatted with community members about the Anacortes Family Center’s mission.

Johnson estimated that those board members, staff and volunteers reached about 1,500 people throughout the day. That’s several times what they would reach if they hosted some sort of dinner or other type of fundraiser, he said.

Educating people about the center is just as important as raising the money, he said.

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