A few years ago –– no one is quite sure of the exact date –– a Key Peninsula page was set up on Facebook.

About a year ago, Vaughn resident Susan Mendenhall took over as administrator of the page, with help from Sylvia Wilson.

“It’s all about community building, having people be aware of each other and local events and it provides opportunities for people to meet each other after they’ve met online,” Mendenhall said.

It’s also a place where people can spread the word about lost pets and learn where resources like the food bank are located, she added. “Somebody’s always available to answer their questions.”

Lately, the Facebook site also has been used to spread the word about fundraising events and other “reaching out” opportunities.

It started in April with a fundraiser for the mudslide victims of Oso, Wash.

Vaughn resident Mindy Wilkins challenged the community to do something to help.

“She posted a request that we wanted to create a fundraising event and we raised $4,300 to give to the victims of the mudslide,” Mendenhall said.

During the planning sessions for that event, a small group of organizers discussed that there were “people in our own community who also needed help,” she recalled.

The group has come to be called KP Cares. It’s a “loosely-banded” group of Key Peninsula residents who prefer to remain in the background. “We don’t really want any recognition,” Wilkins said.

“There are a lot more good people out here than bad and we take care of each other. And when the need arises, all you have to do is put it out there and people step up,” Wilkins said.

Following the success of the Oso fundraiser, the KP Cares group looked homeward to identify local needs.

In early June, the group held a combination bake sale-yard sale-fundraising event to raise money for 5-year-old Robbie Jackson, who has a type of cerebral palsy.

Marilyn Hartley organized the yard sale and Amy Walker and Sylvia Wilson handled the bake sale, Mendenhall noted. Several other local residents also helped.

They hung flyers around town telling how to contribute to a gofundme.com account that had been set up for the youngster, she said.

In the midst of planning for Robbie’s event, the group got word that Melissa Smeltzer’s husband, Aaron, had died suddenly (see the story on page 1), so they decided that the funds they received over and above what had been designated for Robbie would be given to Melissa.

“Again, we raised more than $4,000,” Mendenhall said.

People also brought donations to the event for the Sailly family, who had just lost their home to a fire. “People dropped off baskets of laundry items, gift cards and toys for the Sailly children,” Mendenhall said.

“I think the people here have always had a history of helping each other, and our Facebook page has provided a place for people to come together and discuss the needs, and it’s just supporting what we’ve always had. The happy part of it is that people who didn’t even know Melissa or the mudslide victims came together to help.”

The Facebook page now has more than 2,000 followers, Wilkins added. “We have so many amazing people who live out here.”

To sign up, go to facebook.com and search for Key Peninsula, Washington.

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