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Washington businesses, locals, work to raise each others spirits amid pandemic

Mayor: 'Our capabilities during this crisis vary but what I've witnessed across the board is tremendous compassion'

Union photo by Gretchen Teske

Folks in the City of Washington are using a pandemic to bring out the best in the city.
Union photo by Gretchen Teske Folks in the City of Washington are using a pandemic to bring out the best in the city.

WASHINGTON — Although social distancing has kept students out the school building and has canceled many celebrations, leaders in the community have seemingly made it their mission to bring out the best in the community.

Teachers at Stewart Elementary School in Washington have been taking turns daily to read books to students. The videos are posted on the school’s Facebook page.

The Washington Community School District (WCSD) has continued to feed students as well and according to a post on its Facebook page Tuesday, the district handed out 1,200 meals to 600 students on Monday. Students are given two meals on Mondays and three on Wednesdays. This trend began the week the schools announced they would close and is open to all young community members.

“Remember we want to serve all kids 1-18 in our community. You do not need to be a student of WCSD. Thank you to all of our staff who are providing meals through this time of need,” reads a post on the district page.

The Washington Police Department is also looking to bring smiles to faces of younger citizens who cannot leave the house due to COVID-19. Last week the department announced on its Facebook page it would provide a free “mini-parade.”

Restricted to children within city limits only, the department said it would have officers in cars drive down the street of the child to help lift their spirits.

“During this time of self-isolation and social distancing, we realize that many kids may be celebrating birthdays or other special occasions at home and could maybe use some lights and sirens to help them celebrate,” the department said in a post.

Anyone interested is encouraged to contact the Washington Police Department through its Facebook page.

Many businesses and residents have covered their windows in hearts for the ‘We love Washington’ campaign started by Main Street Washington. The Washington Chamber of Commerce has additionally announced it will provide a $10 rebate for every $50 spent locally in order to boost the city’s economy.

Mayor Jaron Rosien said its wonderful to see the community coming together. Staff at his own restaurant, JP’s 207, have prepared many boxed lunches for companies. The Kalona Cooperative Technology Company (KCTC) ordered lunches for staff at the Washington County Hospital and Clinics. Showing gratitude and compassion toward one another is a wonderful thing to see, he said.

“In Washington our capabilities during this crisis vary but what I’ve witnessed across the board is tremendous compassion and a capacity to give from individuals and groups in whatever ways are possible,” he said.