Homeless Backpack Heroes

How often do people consider if the homeless person sleeping in an exposed area is an adolescent? Or when was the last time a homeless adolescent had a decent meal? “Homeless Backpacks provide weekend food to homeless students,” founding board member of Homeless Backpacks, Kelly Wilson, says. Homeless Backpacks serves over half a dozen school districts in Washington.

The story of the organization starts with a group of women getting together to discuss what they could do for the homeless back in the early 2000s. The discussion led to each woman bringing a practical item to the next meeting to fill 20 backpacks.

“Back in 2006 when we started the program, the food was put into plastic grocery bags,” says Wilson. “It was obvious that there was food in the bags, so we provided each student being served a backpack to put the weekend food bag into. The student would walk into the counselor’s office with an empty backpack and walk out with a bag of food inside of it.”

When plastic bags were banned in Thurston County, Wilson and her team invested in an alternative bag that is thicker and heavier. “The cost of that bag is covered by bag sponsors who pay to put their logo on the bags,” Wilson explains.

“These bags are much thicker, so it is not obvious that it is a bag of food.”

Homeless Backpacks serves 573 students per week at $8 a bag; the recent cost has increased due to food cost increases. The organization doesn’t rely on government or grant funding, but instead depends on schools, churches, businesses, and two fundraisers they host each year to raise money and awareness. Unfortunately, this year’s fundraisers have been cancelled due to the pandemic and limitations on public social gatherings. “Homeless Backpack’s mission is to ‘End Homelessness One Face at a Time.’ ” says Wilson.

JORDAN MARIE MCCAW

Homeless Backpacks
homelessbackpacks.org

Olympia OB/GYN Heroes: Babies Born During Pandemic

Babies are born when they are ready, and dedicated medical personnel tackle coronavirus challenges to deliver them safely.

That’s true of the team at Olympia Obstetrics & Gynecology (OOG), who developed new techniques as they work with patients and welcome babies. They are using technology in positive ways while they keep everyone safe.

“We love moms and babies,” said Dr. Darrel Bell. “The virus hasn’t changed how special each delivery has been. I thank all those who protect mothers and babies by wearing masks and practicing social distancing.” An average of 100 babies a month are delivered by clinic medical staff.

Cari Bussey, certified nurse midwife with the clinic, said, “So much about obstetrics is about family. It is different not having family members in the clinic with the mother.”

“I can’t wait to get over separating families,” Dr. Bell agreed. Partners are always welcome in the delivery room, but “not a lot of extra people are invited into the hospital,” he said, adding that for some patients this limitation created a “beautiful intimate time.”

“We’ve discovered a lot of silver linings,” Bussey said. “Health care workers have been forced to hop on the telemedicine effort. We’ve been able to adopt what works for us, and patients enjoy some benefits. “OOG utilizes a telehealth system that ties the visit to the patient’s electronic health record. Patients receive a link via email or text and can access us through their mobile phones, iPads and desktops.”

Deb Cannon, practice administrator/manager at the clinic, said, “We are a big family, and maybe none of us really understood what it means to be an ‘essential worker’ until now. We have been proud to have maintained a safe environment for everyone; that includes the babies.”

ShowCase Magazine salutes Olympia Obstetrics & Gynecology for going the extra mile for their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

EMILY HAPPY

Olympia Obstetrics & Gynecology
olyobgyn.com

Saint Martin’s Celebrates 125 Years

Saint Martin’s University and Saint Martin’s Abbey are celebrating their joint 125th anniversary throughout this year.  The university plans to  host a virtual celebration to commemorate this milestone anniversary on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020: The Saint Martin’s University 125th Anniversary Celebration. Alumni, friends of the university and community members are welcome and encouraged to participate in the online festivities.

For this year only, the 125th anniversary virtual event will replace the annual Saint Martin’s Gala, the University’s major fundraiser for student scholarships, which was to be held on that same date. Jacques Pépin, the French celebrity chef was scheduled to headline the 2020 Gala but suspended his travel this fall because of the possible ongoing implications due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). While he will not be here this November, chef Pépin and his daughter Claudine have committed to joining us next fall to host the 2021 Gala.

The program for the 125th Anniversary Celebration will feature videos highlighting Saint Martin’s rich history. Featured videos will look into its future; stories from current students and alumni; blessings from the newly elected abbot and monks of Saint Martin’s Abbey; a celebratory toast; and an opportunity for attendees to support students by helping Saint Martin’s University raise critical funds for student scholarships.

“The Saint Martin’s Gala is one of our favorite annual traditions at Saint Martin’s. While we had hoped to combine our 125th anniversary with Gala this year, the safety and health of our family, friends and community remains our top priority. We are looking forward to seeing everyone next year, including Jacques Pépin and his daughter, Claudine, who have committed to hosting our 2021 event. ” shared Saint Martin’s University President Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D.

In addition to celebrating Saint Martin’s past, the event will also focus on recent success and shine a light on it’s bright future. For more information about the anniversary and the virtual celebration, visit www.stmartin.edu/125event.

The Lurana: Olympia’s New Development

Water views have a calming effect on the human psyche. Living in the Puget Sound affords us many opportunities to live with views of the water and now there will be one more in the heart of Olympia. Located on .6 acres at Percival Landing, one of Olympia’s three waterfront parks, the Lurana will be a welcome addition to the community.

Designed by Thomas Architecture Studios, the new mixed-use building was named for an early Olympia pioneer, Lurana Percival who, along with her husband Samuel, built the Percival Mansion in 1874. The new Lurana project will be home to a restaurant, ROW Seafood, and retail spaces with terraces extending to the boardwalk. The project will accommodate a large outdoor plaza adjacent to the boardwalk with extensive restaurant seating. Retailers will include Bittersweet Chocolate as well as office spaces.

Forty-four apartments, consisting of ten studios, twenty-eight 1-bedrooms and six 2-bedrooms are available at the Lurana for lease. With waterfront views of Budd Bay, the Olympic Mountains and the State’s Capitol Dome, this property is an excellent location for those wanting to be near a hub for gatherings and social interactions while being near the central business district of Olympia. Percival Landing includes a 0.9-mile boardwalk extending along the eastern shoreline of West Bay from the Fourth Avenue Bridge to Thurston Avenue making the area bustling and vibrant.

Developed by Urban Olympia LLC and its owner Walker John, the Lurana will join other recently completed projects from this same group in the downtown including 321 Lofts, Franklin Lofts, and Annie’s Flats. The developer currently has Westman Mill and Market Flats under construction in the area as well.

LYN CASTLE

New to Thurston County?

There is always so much to do when you move. This checklist will help you to quickly navigate a few important, but often dreaded, tasks related to relocating.

Update Your Drivers License

If you have a valid Washington driver license, you have ten days after you move to change your address. A new card with your updated address will cost $20. It’s free and simple to do online at dol.wa.gov/licenseexpress.html.

If you’ve moved from out of state, apply for a Washington State driver license within 30 days. Remember to bring proof of identity and residence, in addition to the correct fees ($89/standard or $113/ enhanced) for the type of license you want. Pre-apply online at dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/moving.html to expedite your visit.

Register Your Car

Updating your address for a vehicle already registered in Washington is easy and free! Go online to dol.wa.gov/licenseexpress.html.

If you’ve moved from out of state, register your vehicle in Washington within 30 days. Mailing the required documents and fees gets you plates in about three weeks. Head to a vehicle licensing office to receive new plates immediately. Download the forms at dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/moving.html.

Use Public Transportation

Intercity Transit provides bus service vanpool options for commuters, in addition to dial-a-lift service for those with a disability. Plan your route online at intercitytransit.com.

Register to Vote

Whether moving within Washington or new to Thurston County, the driver licensing office can assist with your voter registration. You can also register online at voter.votewa.gov. Voting in Washington is primarily done by mail, so be sure to register at least eight days before Election Day.

Get a Pet License

Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater require licenses for all dogs and cats in city limits. Thurston County requires licenses for all dogs in unincorporated areas and offers voluntary licensing for cats. Even if your pet is indoors only, a license is required.

A list of license fees and licensing offices can be found online at jointanimalservices.org/licensing.

Get a Library Card

Timberland Regional Library provides library services to the residents of Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties. Library cards are free to anyone living or owning property in these areas. Applications are accepted online or in person, but both require in-person address verification.

Learn more at trl.org.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER