Arlington Resource Center: Filling needs, saving lives

ARLINGTON, Wash. – The Arlington Community Resource Center is small but mighty. It was created as a grief center after the Oso landslide and now how expanded to be a resource center for the entire community.

With just a handful of dedicated staff, they have changed hundreds of lives in five years.

“In crisis situations we just had nothing available in Arlington.” Peggy Ray, Program Manager Arlington Resource Center, explained from behind her desk. “The Mayor came together with community members and said ‘hey, we need something’. And they created the Arlington Community Resource center.”

It took the deadliest landslide in US history to reveal a critical community need. The people of Oso and the Arlington area needed a single place to go in a crisis.

Peggy Ray was acting as a grief counselor for Osos victims and easily slid into the role of leading the center.

Cupboards at the Arlington office remain full thanks to donations. The center provides rent and utility aid, free budgeting and renter’s certification classes, free mental health courses, and they do everything in their power to help the homeless get housing.

“They help with food, clothing, giving the resources where nobody else has offered,” Arlington native Angel Waldron explained.

Thanks to the resource enter, Angel Waldron and her two granddaughters – ages 7 and 8 – have a roof over their heads for the first time in years.

“They’ve learned to swim, they go to school every day, they receive counseling services, they are completely different children and I am forever grateful,” Waldron added with tears streaming down her face.

A small staff of four assists about 18 people everyday.

“Peggy Ray was the one who kicked me in the butt to say are ‘you tired of being tired?’ And I broke down in tears. I was ready,” recovering addict Brandon Calindas shares his testimony. “They’re dealing with suffering addicts and people going through hard times and they don’t judge.”

Eight months later, Brandon Calindas is clean and on his way to gainful employment.

“We don’t give them a bunch of phone numbers and say hey good luck with that we actually sit with them. We call with them and we walked him through step by step,” Peggy added.

The center is responsible for finding homes for 179 people in the Arlingotn area alone in 2018.

“This has helped so many people and it’s all because of the tragedy of the Oso slide,” Ray said with a smile.

The Arlington Community Resource Center’s work is made possible by government grants, county funding and donations from people like you. For more on how to help click here: