As we are all adjusting to this new reality, I want to say thank you to each and every one of you who has invested in this community. Because of you, as we enter unchartered territory, we have strong systems in place to keep essential services flowing come what may.
Recognizing that needs are going to rise due to both the pandemic and the accompanying economic impacts, OICF has launched an Emergency Response Fund to provide financial support to keep the programs and services on pace with an ever-changing situation. I have attached the press release. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. If you are interested in volunteering, please send Megan an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will get you on the list.
OPAL Community Land Trust, the Senior Center, the Orcas Island School District, the Food Bank and the Orcas Community Resource Center are just a few of the organizations that have been developing plans to ensure the community has what is needed during an extended period of social isolation. This includes ensuring that the 50%+ children who qualify for Free and Reduced meals at Orcas schools continue to have food support during an extended closure. Similarly, the Senior Center is ramping up its meal delivery program as they stop the in-house lunches. OPAL and OCRC are coordinating efforts to ensure that there is access to emergency support for mortgages, rent, healthcare, and other essentials.
There are also a few other things we can all do to help ‘flatten’ the economic impact curve. Many of our local businesses are seeing a sharp decline in customers as we all start to distance ourselves. Now would be a great time to purchase gift certificates that you might use later. Several restaurants are providing meal pick up options. Many nonprofits might also see revenue streams run dry (like the preschools who rely on tuition or Orcas Center’s ticket sales). This would be an ideal time to make your annual gift, even increasing it a bit.
All these small acts can lead to a much better outcome for our entire community. Thank you for everything you are doing to keep our island as healthy as we can.