July 27, 2020
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Holiday Kids' Tree project ramps up for 2020

The weather may not exactly remind us of the holidays yet, but the season of giving is not far from our minds as we begin planning for the 32nd annual Holiday Kids’ Tree project.

The novel coronavirus has negatively affected the finances of many families this year, especially those in rural communities. While COVID-19 has taken a lot from Washingtonians, it must not take away the spirit of holiday generosity. In that effort, we are moving forward to continue to serve families in need in rural communities.

AWB members and community groups have donated more than $437,000 to the Holiday Kids’ Tree project since 1989. These funds bring aid to rural families during the holiday season. All the donations are given to local fire districts, who use the funds to purchase food and toys for distribution to local families in need.

Last year, donations from members like you helped 19 rural fire districts in 14 counties serve 431 families with food and toys. Similar aid will be needed this year, possibly more than ever before.

There are two ways that you can help us preserve the spirit of Christmas and holiday goodwill throughout Washington. First, consider nominating a rural firefighting district to be part of this statewide outreach to deliver hope and joy during the holiday season.

Nominate a rural firefighting district by downloading the fillable form here. Nominations are due Aug 31.

Second, consider setting aside funds or donating now toward this hope-filled effort. Every dollar helps. Your business could sponsor a family for $200 or a firefighting district for $1,000. All donations are tax deductible and monthly installments are accepted. Your participation will be highlighted on our contributors’ webpage.

Donate here.

For more information please contact Susie Griffin at 360.943.1600 or SusieG@awb.org.

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Stay Safe Washington
Prepare for Post-Pandemic Life

When the mills close, what's next?

By Mac Alexander Macdonald

What do communities do when their chief sources of income evaporate?

"Re-galvanize and reinvent," says Marc Abshire, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce. But what can we do as citizens to contribute to making this a place where industry wants to locate? What will people in the future want to purchase or acquire, and then how do we attract those companies, while nurturing the businesses we currently have? Complacency is not an option, and neither is hope alone.

For a company to partner with an area, it needs a ready and ample workforce. Are people being trained for the skills needed? Will enough housing be available? Will company executives and workers feel comfortable having their medical needs met? Will all employees feel comfortable having their kids educated in the local schools?

Robert Duvall's second famous line in the movie "Apocalypse Now" was, "Someday this war is going to end." Someday this pandemic will be over, so we need to prepare now. Communities like mine need to lay aside rivalries and attract passengers to their future train. It has been well quoted: When the time for action arrives, the time for preparation has passed.

Read the full guest column in The Seattle Times