Good News Chronicle
The City of Olympia recently converted Community Planning and Development permitting operations to a digital portal using a program called SmartGov. In addition to creating broad system efficiencies, the digital portal has ensured permitting assistance and review remain uninterrupted during the pandemic. Customers can still submit applications, pay fees, request inspections and review status online, while staff review and stamp approval virtually. Even before the pandemic, the City was processing about 87% of permits (more than 5,000 per year) via the web portal vs. in-office visits. Customers have expressed their support vis a vis a recent user survey showing a 95% approval rating.
Charitable giving by our community has helped the Community Foundation and United Way of Thurston County to make a real difference for local families and service organizations. Highlights include:
- Funding to support a quadrupling of Meals on Wheels deliveries to 10,000 per month
- Doubling the number of food backpacks to kids through the Thurston County Food Bank
- Funding and staff to support growing demand at the Food Bank, which has now served over 13,600 individuals
- Purchase of homeless food backpacks to be distributed to homeless school students
In addition, the fund has enabled expanded support to the Nurse Family Partnership Program which serves 300 no- and low-income families with infant children. To date, donations have included:
- 899 containers of infant formula
- 351 packages of baby wipes
- 640 jars of baby food
- 431 packages of diapers
- 2,249 units of toddler and children’s foods
Funding and donations have also been made to the Childcare Action Council in their efforts to support 11 childcare providers countywide. The few operators remaining open are caring for the children of first-responders and other frontline workers. Donated goods include:
- 210 packages of toilet paper
- 25 containers of sanitizing wipes
- 15 gallons of bleach
- Paper towels (unknown quantity)
Funding for Catholic Community Services has helped their Community Kitchen serve nearly 13,000 in March alone, while the Community Action Council has provided emergency rent and utility assistance to more than 300 households at a cost of $1,170.00 on average.
Finally, the United Way-Community Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund has made it possible for Together to bulk purchase supplies for distribution to hundreds of local families trying meet basic needs. Items include:
- Toilet paper
- Laundry soap
- Dish soap
- Pasta and pasta sauce
- Infant formula
- Boxed and canned foods
Thank you to our partners and everyone who has donated. For more information:
The Port of Olympia and local longshore workers are donating space, time and equipment to help the non-profit organization, Moore Wright Group, deliver much need hygiene supplies, toys and other in-demand goods to people in Thurston County and broader region. Ports play an important role in regional response and recovery efforts – and this is one particularly helpful way they do it. Thanks Port!
Intercity Transit has put together a couple of fun activities to engage youth and. For April, they have a Bike Art Challenge and Social Media Bike Challenge. Create a bike-themed piece of art or share your biking adventures for a chance to win prizes. Check out their events page for more details.
On April 5, Miso celebrated having delivered over 500 meals to local first responders, medical workers, and grocery workers through their Help the Heroes Campaign! Hundreds of donations have poured in from around the country to support their effort. With 900 more meals planned, Miso plans to continue the program as long as needed. Donations can be made under the “online ordering” section of their website, and a $20 donation provides three fresh meals.
On Friday, April 3, Three Magnets Brewing Co. Pubhouse and Catering prepped and delivered 100 boxed meals for the Interfaith Works Homeless Services Program. Donated meals can be added to any online order. Three Magnets is helping to keep our most vulnerable community members fed and keeping jobs within our community at the same time.