By: Mabel Dobbs
January 22, 2018
Our rural communities were blessed a decade ago with a “pay it forward” vision of one of our area’s breast cancer survivors. While battling her own cancer, she saw a need for a support group in our rural communities to help those battling cancer and their families.
Over the past decade, hundreds of cancer warriors and their families have been helped by Angel Wings Network, Inc., and its group of dedicated volunteers. Angel Wings Network, Inc. is a 501-c3 non-profit organization located in Weiser, Idaho. Its primary service area is Washington County Idaho, Adams County, Payette County and parts of Malheur County, Oregon. Angel Wings has assisted folks outside this area when needed.
The organization provides many services, all free of charge, including but not limited to, transportation to and from treatment and/or fuel cards to help get to treatment. Donated meal gift cards and meals for treatment days can be provided if needed, and the meals are graciously provided by the Weiser Senior Center. Angel Wings Network, Inc. also provides outreach at SAMC, St. Alphonsus Infusion Center in Ontario, Oregon weekly. Since the beginning Angel Wings Network has given each new cancer patient a handmade prayer blanket that has been blessed for them and a gift bag. For the past several years many of these blankets have been made and donated by our Washington County 4-H Clubs as part of their community service work. Angel Wings Network also does several programs on cancer awareness and has an extensive lending library of cancer books.
As the New Year and next decade begins, there are changes and needs that the communities we serve need to be aware of. The financial resources Angel Wings Network needs to provide the free services are always strained. The group as no sustaining source of funds and funds have primarily been raised through two fundraising events each year. Idaho Gives in the Spring, and a Walk-Run Event in the early Fall. We have been blessed with small amounts of grant monies from several area sources and some cash donations from folks in our communities. The foundation at SAMC has provided some fuel cards and monies for fuel cards and many Washington County 4-H Clubs have provided numerous blankets. We have learned that St. Luke’s, Fruitland will be making a donation on January 31, 2018 and on February 12, 2018 the employees of Teton Machinery in Payette will present a check to Angel Wings Network. We are continually in search of potential grant funding opportunities and are happy to do presentations to businesses and organizations.
The office has been staffed for the past five years by a group of dedicated volunteers and one part-time coordinator/director. There is currently no paid staff person. A generous donor has donated an office space, rent free for Angel Wings Network to enable our commitment to our rural area cancer patients to continue for now. For this we feel blessed and are very grateful. The new address is: Angel Wings Network, Inc, 773 West Main Street, Weiser, Idaho 83672. Phone number is 208-414-9464. Hours presently are Monday through Thursday 10am-2pm. Volunteers are available by phone 7 days a week.
We are now faced with the concern that we cannot undertake the two major fundraisers, maintain the transport to treatment services and the weekly outreach at the cancer infusion center in Ontario and keep the office in Weiser open four days a week. The core, committed group of volunteers that have done all of this are unable to continue at this pace. They cannot do all the fundraising, event planning, transports and run the daily operations.
The anxiety over how to continue to fund and do this work is huge. The NEED for help for people battling cancer continues to increase at a pace that we financially may not be able to meet without a more sustainable source of funding and a larger pool of volunteers committed to the work.
We are extending the challenge to everyone in our service area to contact Angel Wings Network with your funding and staffing ideas, recommendations, and/or financial support. I would suspect that everyone who reads this article will have been touched by cancer in some way, a friend, family member, acquaintance or yourself has seen the ravages of this ugly disease. There are few organizations, if any, in our region who do what Angel Wings Network does for cancer patients and their families. Little or no monies comes back to local communities from the large cancer organizations such as the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen.
If you donate to a cause, I would urge you to help Angel Wings Network and know that your money goes to help those in your local area. If you feel this local cancer support group is important to our community and those battling cancer I urge you to make time to volunteer and/or become a sustaining, financial donor.
We challenge each of you to think about this. If 50% of Weiser’s population pledged to give $1.00 a week (the price of one soda at McDonalds) we could sustainably fund Angel Wings Network, Inc. each year and have funds to help even more folks battling cancer for the next decade. Stop by 773 West Main Street in Weiser or call 208-414-9464 and commit to making a pledge to help Angel Wings Network Inc, continue to help those individuals and families who are battling cancer.