Caption: Just in time for Easter, our chicks hatched!

Our nonprofits are really stepping up:

  • OPAL Community Land Trust has so far served  83 families, providing support in applying for relief and $77,000 in immediate support so that these folks can stay in their homes
  • The Shelter Task Force has identified six host sites that will be available for our homeless population to have a safe place to shelter in place
  • The Orcas School District served 2000 meals in the last seven days
  • Safe San Juans has been able to house and help neighbors fleeing domestic violence
  • The Orcas Food Bank provided local produce, bread, food and meals to 297 families last week, a marked increase in customers

While this crisis continues, and will likely get worse, this community continues to wrap its arms around itself in such inspiring and powerful ways. As we started down this path, I reached out to my Community Foundation colleges to hear how their communities were managing (they were all a week or two ahead of the San Juan’s). They reported that Food Banks in Whatcom, Everett, and Kitsap were all having challenges sourcing food right off the bat, so much so in several communities that the food banks shuttered for a week to try to recoup. The Community Emergency Response Fund (CERF) advisors decided to immediately support local farmers allowing them to scale up and increase the production of produce. One of the best ways to do that is to commit to CSA’s (Community Supported Ag’s- you pay now for a box of vegetables delivered weekly over three months), putting needed resources in the hands of farmers today so they can purchase the seeds and labor to make it happen. The Food Bank offered families a CSA and selected the 24 through a thoughtful vetting process. There are more folks who would like one. If you are planning on purchasing one for your family, consider buying two and donating the extra to the Food Bank. You would certainly make a neighbor happy.

The Food Bank also reached out to all three bakeries and all welcomed the opportunity to fill weekly orders and provided good a wholesale rate. Roses confirmed that they would have laid off a baker, and Endswell had planned to shut down. Supporting local jobs allows donations to work twice, once to feed folks and once to employ folks, thus keeping them from needing support themselves.

In the end, we all want everyone to have enough food. For some, that means making sure we have plenty to give and for others, it is ensuring they still have enough work to keep themselves fed.

The CERF Team has made a conscious effort to support the local economy as we support those in need. We feel it is important in the time of great uncertainty to keep as much of the funding circulating in the local economy as possible.  That is why we are looking to hire local builders to repair and build shelters, purchase supplies from Island Hardware and Ace, and show a little love to the businesses that have so generously supported the nonprofit sector for years.

I will be doing a live FaceBook Friday, April 10 at noon.  I hope you can join in.

The GiveOrcas campaign is happening now. Please check out the great programs in need of support.

I am so very grateful for this amazing community. Stay well.