What ideas do you have for the Orcas Community to recover and move into the future?

During the past four months, the San Juan County unemployment rate has grown to 38%, the Food Bank and the Senior Center nutrition program have seen the number of clients quadruple, hundreds of families have accessed help to cover their rent or mortgage, and so many businesses are struggling to find a way to stay viable during the COVID pandemic. Thanks to generous donors, the Community Emergency Response Fund has been able to provide resources to those agencies delivering these essential services. However, with cases on the rise again in Washington State and nationally, the crisis is far from over.

The Orcas Island Community Foundation and the Community Emergency Response Advisory committee believe this crisis also holds the opportunity to reflect on our economy and envision new possibilities to help Orcas become a more equitable and resilient community. To do so, we want to learn more about current conditions, hear what ideas the community has to rise out of this and craft a shared vision that will allow us together to take the steps needed to turn a vision into reality.

60+ islanders have been learning facilitation skills to host community meetings from the Pomegranate Center. The goal is to engage a diverse and broad spectrum of islanders to listen and learn through a series of community meetings taking place over the next few weeks. I am asking you to join me at one of these sessions.

Please learn more about the project and sign up for a community meeting visit https://www.resilientorcas.com. Meetings will be virtual unless otherwise noted and will be two hours or shorter. If you need access to a computer, wifi, or zoom training, that can be arranged. Working together and truly listening to each other, we have the chance to make changes for the better for all. I hope you will join the conversation.