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Join together to stay apart to beat Covid-19

How are you all doing dealing with your new normal? One thing that strikes us as we all cope with social distancing during the governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is how different this is than other difficult situations we’ve faced in Grays Harbor.

Usually in Grays Harbor when there is a problem, need or emergency, we physically get together to solve it, but during this pandemic, the best way we can fight it is to stay apart physically.

Think about it. If a family needs money for medical expenses we gather for spaghetti feeds, or to help children’s sports teams we cluster around bake sales. Then there are the United Way events to raise money for various local charities, and Foodball to gather food and money for our area food banks.

We’re well known here for our Relay for Life weekend where we meet together in two different venues to raise money to battle cancer and support those who are fighting it.

Not that long ago, we here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor organized “Paint the Corridor” where volunteers joined together for several years in a row to paint houses that needed it and spruce up the look of our towns.

And in emergencies – like floods and wind storms – the hard work and neighborliness of Grays Harborites always shows up with people coming together to help the community. Each contributes what they can, whether it’s a chainsaw to remove downed trees or a pot of soup to warm hungry stomachs.

But this time we must Join Together to Stay Apart!

The good news is that it is working! Keep up your distance, check on your neighbors by phone or from a safe distance – and we can beat this thing too.

We are all in this together!


Please bag garbage

Our faithful public servants who collect our garbage are requesting that we bag all loose garbage inside our garbage cans to reduce the chance of their workers coming into contact with COVID-19.

Both Hometown Sanitation, which services Hoquiam, and LeMay Grays Harbor, which serves Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, Montesano, Elma and McCleary, are working to get the word out.

“Like everyone who is changing the way they are doing things, we’re trying to roll with this as much as possible,” said Brian Smith, co-owner of Hometown Sanitation. “Our drivers have hand sanitizers and wipes in their trucks. In addition, for the safety of our employees, we are asking our customers to bag all loose garbage in their garbage cans.”

Also Smith noted that payments can still be made at the office, however the lobby is closed. Customers can still use the payment slot or if they need change, can call ahead to let the employees know.

In a letter to its customers posted on its website, LeMay says that they always recommend that all garbage is securely bagged – both that inside your cart as well as any extra outside your container.

“Bagging loose garbage helps ensure items do not litter the surrounding area when your garbage driver is servicing your cart or container, but more importantly, it will limit exposure to our employees,” the letter says.

In fact, the letter goes on to say, “effective immediately, garbage drivers will be instructed to not service any waste outside of your cart or container that is not properly secured in either a sealed bag or a container that can be disposed of without opening.”

And, like Hometown Sanitation, LeMay is also requesting that all garbage items inside your residential or commercial container be fully contained in properly sealed bags.”

Speaking of garbage, it’s time to tidy up

On your drive to the grocery store or walk around the block, are you noticing what we are?

Many people are using this time of social distancing, fewer work hours, and lack of commuting time to tidy up in and around their homes.

We think this is a great idea! We might as well use the added time at home to improve our homes. It could be as simple as cleaning out closets and organizing garages to taking the time to do some interior painting, or using 30 Seconds Cleaner to wash your deck, fence or the side of your house.

Gather things into piles to give away and throw away. Sweep those garages, wash those windows, clean out the basement and attic spaces.

When the threat of COVID-19 passes, we will have some of the most organized, tidy, houses and garages!

We also predict that Grays Harbor will boast some of the most beautiful and productive gardens ever this summer! It’s the perfect time to catch up on some of the yard work.

Time for “thinking” chores too

For those with more time on their hands, this might be the perfect time to tackle some desk kind of chores as well. You could consider creating a family budget, planning more complex home projects, finishing the tax return, organizing all your important papers or updating your will.

If you’ve lost your job or had hours reduced, our hearts go out to you. Even if you think you’ll be rehired, you can file for unemployment benefits. You may also want to take time to update your resume, take an online course or work on your computer skills.

Getting low on money for bills?

Things are tough. The good news is that we are in a unique situation where literally everybody knows what’s going on.

Are you afraid you can’t pay all your bills this month? If so, remember to communicate that as soon as you can to the bank, utility, medical office, credit card company or store that you owe. Almost everyone is willing to work with people to adjust payments temporarily or see if you may be eligible for some sort of program.

The key is to pick up the phone or to e-mail as soon as you can – even before the bill is due – to see what kind of arrangements can be made.

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