PPE Market at South HillMall

Everyone seems to be saying it – “Stay safe!”   Right now, many people are shopping for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) so that they may shop and go to work while staying safe from the COVID-19 virus.  The management of South Hill Mall has reopened for business, and they are developing a program to help the makers of PPE bring their products to market in an easy way.  Local manufacturers PPE may qualify for FREE space inside the mall from which to sell their products to the general public. 

The PPE Marketplace is an opportunity to bring together enterprising local manufacturers and people with a genuine need to stay healthy in the midst of our current public health crisis.  Products that will qualify would include facial masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, shields and similar items.  Local business people who are interested in bringing their products to the PPE Marketplace should contact the David Montevideo in the South Hill Mall leasing office at 253-840-4349 or by email at dmontevideo@cafarocompany.com

South Hill Mall, located at Highway 512 and South Meridian Street in Puyallup, Washington, has been serving the people of the South Sound area since 1988. Learn more at southhillmall.com

Asia Pacific Cultural Center Serving the Community

When the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) was formed in 1996 it was intended to fulfill a deep need as a place that brought together significant segments of minority Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage. For more than two decades, the APCC has taught and celebrated the cultural history, customs, arts, crafts, people and legends from their 47 represented nations. And it has been a hub for so many people to gather and celebrate. To be entertained. To show their pride. And to help each other.

Helping each other is one of the major missions of the APCC. And, help they do. Whether it is assistance in filling out government forms to start a new business or nonprofit to guiding members in understanding complicated regulations, the APCC is there to help. The organization knows they are trusted because they look like their members and speak their language. They form a comfort zone and have the capacity and earned trust to improve their members’ lives.

Through phenomenal support from their sponsors, the APCC puts on a vast number of annual events that entertain and educate. But the APCC is also a vigorous political engine ensuring that laws and issues impacting their members are given due consideration. Seeing a need to help with youth issues, the APCC has created many wraparound youth programs in the local schools. Reducing stress for youth begins and ends with reducing stress on their parents. This is accomplished by the APCC through housing and food assistance, two of the biggest stressful issues for any family.

As the APCC approaches its 25th Anniversary, it continues to expand its role in the community and, of course, add more entertainment opportunities including a new Thailand Day in June.



CHAIRity Silent Auction

To support our neighbors, JayRay has launched the JayRay CHAIRity Silent Auction on May 26. Proceeds will benefit the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED:COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, which grants dollars to organizations serving Pierce County’s most vulnerable populations. 

Chairs painted by six tacoma artists will be available to the highest bidders. An everyday dining chair has suddenly become something we all rely on while at home. For some, it has become an office. A classroom. Or,  a place to think. And far too many of our neighbors don’t know the comfort of having their own. 

Join JayRay’s CHAIRity Silent Auction on May 26. Proceeds will benefit the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED:COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, which grants dollars to organizations serving Pierce County’s most vulnerable populations. 

Chairs painted by six tacoma artists will be available to the highest bidders. An everyday dining chair has suddenly become something we all rely on while at home. For some, it has become an office. A classroom. And far too many of our neighbors don’t know the comfort of having their own. 

Together, we can help.

Thank you to our talented commissioned artists including Angela Larsen / Lovesome Dove, Brandi LaPointe, Chris Sharp, Katie Johnson, Saiyare Refaei, and Tiffany Hammonds.

Bidding will be open from 9 a.m. PST on May 26  to 5 p.m. PST on June 1.


Tacoma Dome: Million Pounds of Potatoes giveaway tomorrow

With the closure of restaurants there is an abundance of potatoes and the Washington Potato Growers Association is shifting to help those in need by hosting “On the Road to a Million Pounds of Potatoes” with plans to host their largest potato giveaway to date this Thursday, May 14 at 11am. Approximately 200,000 pounds of potatoes will be available for giveaway in the Tacoma Dome parking lots G & F. Local volunteers from the Emergency Food Network will help with logistics and load the potatoes directly into vehicles.

 Ninety percent of all the potatoes grown in Washington State are sold to restaurants and other food service establishments. With so many restaurants closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, potato farmers have excess potatoes and are making them available for donation through these events. More than 320,000 pounds of potatoes have been distributed so far.

Food banks can also make arrangements with the Potato Commission to pick up a pallet for their local locations by calling 509-765-8845 or emailing office@potatoes.com. All potatoes will be distributed on a first come first served basis.

Coloring for Cash and Community

O Bee plans to  donate $6,000 to local food banks as part of their Washington State Color-for-Cash contest. In the past weeks, food banks around Washington have seen an extraordinary increase in the demand for food and are in need of cash donations and volunteers. O Bee plans to draw awareness to this need with a coloring contest.

People who enter the Color-for-Cash contest will have a chance to win one of six cash prizes, from $750 to $250, totaling $3,000. O Bee will match the cash awards by donating $3,000 each to Thurston County and Pierce County Food Banks.

Community food bank

“The benefits of adult coloring books have been well established,” said Lee Wojnar, VP of Marketing at OBee Credit Union. “Coloring has been shown to have a relaxing and calming effect on the brain. We think now might be a good time for a bit of coloring,” he added with a smile.

The contest winners will be drawn randomly. “We’re not expecting a Picasso, we are just encouraging people to take a break from the distractions of these difficult times to calm their brains. As an incentive, we’re giving cash prizes too. It’s for a bit of fun,” said Wojnar.

Entrants may choose from six different coloring pages, each depicting a Washington-inspired scene, including whales, wine country and Mt. Rainier. Paul A. Lanquist, a Washington-based artist and illustrator, designed the coloring pages. The natural beauty of Washington is an important influence in his work. 

The Color-for-Cash contest begins Friday, April 24, 2020 at 1pm. Winners will be randomly drawn on Monday, June 1, 2020 at noon. Open to Washington state residents and O Bee members. For terms and conditions and to enter the contest, go to www.obee.com/color

Exercise Offers Health Benefits at Any Age

Most of us have heard the adage that it’s never too late to start exercising and reap the benefits of better health. Is that a myth or a fact? Two recently published investigational studies evaluated more than 315,000 Americans and 15,000 Britons. The studies confirmed the conclusion of past research: Adopting an exercise routine at any age improves your overall health and well-being.

In the American study, researchers were surprised by one of their findings. Participants who increased their physical activity in their 40s, 50s and into their early 60s enjoyed health benefits and a reduced risk of an early death as much as those who had maintained an exercise regimen throughout adulthood.

The British study found similar benefits for people into their late 70s. The researchers also concluded that substantial longevity benefits were gained by becoming more physically active regardless of past inactivity or health conditions, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol or obesity.

Ready to get started exercising? The Cleveland Clinic recommends these steps:

See your doctor.

Get a physical exam to assess your current fitness level. Make sure you’re healthy enough to start picking up the pace.

Track your progress.

Use a pedometer or activity tracker to count your steps. Time your workouts with a stopwatch. Keep a journal to show how far you’ve come as you progress.

Start slow.

Begin all workouts with a warm-up and stretching.

Find the right fit.

Figure out what activities you enjoy. Create a balanced routine to include aerobics, strength training and balance exercises.


Evaluate whether your workouts are too little or too much. Take note of your fatigue level and your ability to lift and to walk distances.

Hydrate and eat a balanced diet.

Drink plenty of water every day. Plan meals and snacks that are high in fiber and well-balanced with “good” calories to fuel your body.


Heritage Distilling: Heroes in the fight

It is an understatement to say life over the past couple of months has changed. We have all been asked to alter our behaviors in an effort to keep each other safe and combat COVID-19. As the pandemic has grown in scope, we have seen businesses from every sector step up to help provide desperately needed medical supplies. In March, Heritage Distilling Co. joined the ranks of other notable businesses and announced plans to produce hand sanitizer at their distilleries across Washington.

“We have shifted our focus away from producing our flagship BSB-Brown Sugar Bourbon product into making hand sanitizer on a large scale for the public and hospitals, first responder and front line workers,” said Heritage Distilling Co. CEO Justin Stiefel. “Working to protect our communities is our number one focus right now.”

The pivot from making spirits to hand sanitizer required a shift in the production schedule. “We went from making vodkas, gins and whiskey to sanitizer” said Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer Hannah Hanley. “It’s the same basic premise, just different ingredients. We are now bottling 5 days a week, multiple shifts a day utilizing as much raw ingredients as we can source at this point.”

Heritage Distilling estimates they will be able to produce up to 15,000 gallons per month which is equal to 250,000, 8-ounce bottles of sanitizer. Orders for 750ml bottles can be placed online or purchased at tasting rooms in Seattle, Gig Harbor and Roslyn. Customers will be limited to two bottles each. Special pricing is available to all front line workers, including those in the healthcare industry, military, law enforcement, delivery and grocery employees, who present a valid ID.For more information on Heritage Distilling, including locations where you can purchase Heritage Distilling Hand Sanitizer, please visit www.heritagedistilling.com. by Andrea Lerum

Homeless Backpacks Needs Your Help

Red backpack standing isolated on white background

On a usual Friday,  Thurston County’s Homeless Backpacks assembles 600 bags of food and delivers them to the various buildings in Thurston County public school districts to feed at-risk children over the weekend.  Well, it is anything but usual with the Stay at Home orders created by the Covid-19 crisis. The numbers of bags needed with the crisis has skyrocketed to over a 1000. Coupled with the increased need with the changes to distribution and Homeless Backpacks is facing a major challenge.

    A challenge they intend to meet, but they need your help.  You can help by buying extra items when you are at the grocery store and dropping them by the Lacey Columbia Bank branch at 665 Woodland Square Loop SE.  Items most in need are canned pasta, chili, tuna, and individually wrapped snacks. If you would rather donate money, please visit the organization’s Facebook Page “Homeless Backpacks” or their website homelessbackpacks.org and click on Donate Now.  If you are a business and interested in being a bag sponsor for $1500, please contact them through these same sites.

    With the shortages of foods at many of our grocery stores, the challenges facing Homeless Backpacks now include increased prices on items they typically buy.  A bag that last month would run the organization about $8, now costs $9 because they are forced in some instances to buy more expensive brands. Their weekly budget to provide more bags has grown by more than $4200.  Now more than ever, this worthy organization needs your help.

Founded in 2006 with a mission of “Ending Homelessness One Face at a Time”.

Spend Time in Nature to Reduce Stress

Spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Whatever you call it – forest bathing, ecotherapy, mindfulness in nature, green time or the wilderness cure — humans evolved in the great outdoors, and your brain benefits from a journey back to nature.

Get Out

Have you been feeling down lately, especially with Covid 19 concerns? A little sluggish, stressed out, or maybe wondering, “What’s life all about?” 

Here’s another question: How much time have you spent in nature lately?
The answer to these two questions might be more closely related than you’d think.
The modern way we live has changed radically from life in the savanna, but our brains have mostly stayed the same. We still have a deep connection with nature, and research shows that if we don’t nourish that bond despite our technological advancements, we may suffer in many ways.

Feel Better

If you’re able to, get back to nature to energize your mind and body.

Depressed: If you’re feeling blue, try going outside to green, natural spaces. A stroll in the woods has been shown to help combat depression, and even just the view of the forest from a hospital room helps patients who are feeling down. Head for the hills if you need a boost to your mood.

Stressed: Nature presents scenes that gently capture your attention instead of suddenly snatching it, calming your nerves instead of frazzling them.

Anxious: You probably know that exercise is good for your state of mind. But did you know that working out in nature helps to reduce anxiety, among other benefits, even more than going to an indoor gym? Consider hitting some trails to get the best mental bang for your buck.

Self-Involved: If you dwell on your problems and just can’t stop, a walk through a meadow might put the brakes on the thought train circling through your head. Research shows that a 90-minute walk in nature lowers activity in the part of the brain linked to negative rumination.

Fatigued: Are you constantly multitasking at work as you switch between customers and phone calls, or click from spreadsheets to presentations? Even at home, you might face a combination of kids, chores and devices vying for your attention. Your prefrontal cortex can only take so much distraction before it needs a recharge. Luckily, time in nature has been shown to restore mental abilities like short term memory and processing 3D images based on drawings.

Uninspired: Changing the scenery is a great way to get the creative juices flowing, and nature offers stimuli that you won’t find while staring at a screen. In one example, spending four days in nature improved problem-solving skills by 50%. If you haven’t found a way to tackle that next big project at work, or an obstacle that’s impeding your personal goals, try noodling on it in the great outdoors.7

Antisocial: Time in nature can help with your personal relationships, too. Natural beauty results in more prosocial behaviors, like generosity and empathy.

Disconnected: One of the most basic human needs is to feel that you belong and you’re part of a larger tribe. But studies show that this concept goes beyond human relationships alone. Time in nature results in a sense of belonging to the wider world that is vital for mental health.9

Angsty: At times, you might feel lost, and begin to wonder what life is all about. A dose of awe might remind you just how wondrous the world is. Nature provides trees that were hundreds of years old before you were even born, towering mountains that touch the clouds and a sky full of uncountable stars. When it comes to awe-inspiring awesomeness, nature leaves our jaws dropping and spines tingling, and rekindles the realization that we’re a tiny part of an incredible universe. What’s more powerful than that?

Consider seeing a mental health professional if your symptoms are serious, but if you’re feeling a tinge of any of the blues listed above, try something like:

  • Add a daily walk on a local hiking trail to your regimen.
  • Go on a bike ride around your neighborhood.

Content provided by the American Heart Association News

Tim Timmer at O Bee Credit Union

O Bee Credit Union is now home to Tim Timmer as the V.P. of Business Lending, a new department which is already being recognized for its contributions. Along with his dedicated team, Thierry Steuby and Leah Hontz, Tim has brought a new level of service and customer relations to O Bee. Tim endured a challenging upbringing, but it was one that ultimately set him on a path to success.

Tim had his share of challenges from early on. “Between the ages of 4 and 12, my family moved from Washington to Illinois, and then to Minnesota,” he says. “My father owned a restaurant but lost it during the farming crisis of 1984.” When Tim’s father abruptly passed away in 1993, Tim says frankly that he “had nowhere to live.” After being temporarily taken in by a friend’s parents, Tim finally found his calling as a personal bank teller for the US Bank.

Tim enjoyed building relationships with customers and eventually transitioned to South Sound Bank. “I had a great mentor in President and CEO Dan Yerrington,” he says. That’s also where he met his current business partners. “Leah and Thierry are a major reason I’ve been so successful; I couldn’t do it without them,” he adds. After Timberland acquired South Sound Bank in 2018, the team entered the O Bee family and have excelled since.

Just recently, they received a Top Partner Award for their work in the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 program from Evergreen Business Capital. “The SBA is a great program that helps small business owners access business loans for real estate purchases with specialized rates and terms. Winning the award helps generate awareness for the program so we can help more of our members save money on terms and realize ownership of their business location,” Tim says. 

Tim is looking forward to a lot in 2020, from hiking and camping with his wife and son to raising awareness for homelessness and growing the Business Lending department at O Bee. He is a co-owner of Fresh Start Housing, a passion project that manages multiple properties to house the homeless. “We connect them to resources and provide a safe living environment with supervision and regulations that they have to live by,” he emphasized. “Our primary mission is to provide clean and sober, low barrier housing to individuals who are out of treatment, incarceration or mental evaluation. These are leading causes of homelessness and we feel we are doing our part to take a dent out.”

Tim and his team have quickly become part of the O Bee family, sharing their considerable talent, energy, and invaluable expertise. To learn more about the team or what they do, visit the O Bee website.