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Community strength in unprecedented times

We are in unprecedented times. The coronavirus outbreak has had a profound impact on the American people and our economy, but – together – we will make sure that impact is not a lasting one.

As many businesses temporarily transition operations online, essential employees continue to practice safe operations, and our healthcare providers and first responders continue to selflessly serve on the front lines, keeping our families, friends, and neighbors safe and healthy.

I am working in Congress to ensure our hospitals and clinics, small businesses, and families have the support they need, but it is the strong local response that gives me hope we will emerge from this pandemic as quickly and as strongly as possible. While we still have work to do, I have been encouraged by how our communities have come together to weather this storm.

Across the country, we have seen examples of how Americans are there for one another in times of need, and we have our own examples here in Central Washington.

By partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local restaurants, teachers and parents across our district are providing nutritious meals to students. School districts and non-profits like the Boys and Girls Club are rallying together to provide childcare options for nurses and first responders throughout the mandatory school closures. Sandbox Bookstore in Moses Lake is delivering books, flash cards, and other educational materials to parents and students as a way to continue operations as a small business and enhance home education.

Food pantries throughout our rural communities have been working overtime to put together boxes of food – compiled of fresh vegetables from local farms and non-perishable donated items. These organizations, like the Ritzville Food Pantry, are serving hundreds of families who need help putting food on the table during these difficult times, and luckily, Central Washingtonians have stepped up to help.

Swede Hill Distilling in Yakima has transitioned from making whiskey, bourbon, and moonshine to medical-grade hand and surface sanitizer for local communities. Armed with donated labels, water bottles, and jugs from surrounding businesses, the distilling company has already sold 40 or 50 gallons of sanitizer and plans to create more.

In the Tri-Cities, Porter’s BBQ is providing donated meals to first responders. By purchasing a plate, community members can help feed those who are working around the clock to ensure our safety. Numerous local businesses, like O’Brien Construction, have accepted donations for personal protective equipment for our front-line healthcare workers.

Viruses come and go, but the people of Central Washington are resilient. We owe our most sincere gratitude to the essential employees who are keeping food on our tables, caring for the sick, and keeping our lights on, and as our response to COVID-19 changes day to day, I will keep them in my mind and my prayers. This outbreak certainly acts as a roadblock in our regular, day-to-day operations, but we will come through on the other side if we continue to work together.


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