It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the current state of the world. Not only are we all locked down due to COVID-19, the government has decided now is the perfect time to release photos of UFOs. Oh, and the Asian giant hornet (aka “murder hornet“) has decided that Washington is a nice vacation spot!
I’m a bit sick of talking about all the things that suck, though. So, here are a few good things happening right now that make me grateful for the life I have and the community I share.
We’re on the road to reopening
When we were first asked to stay inside, it was hard to take it seriously or keep a smile on our face when there was no release date. Since May 5th, we’ve started the first of four phases that will gradually open Washington State.
You may not be able to go out and get a drink yet, but you can go for a socially distant walk at Point Defiance now, or spend an afternoon at Wright Park. In a few weeks, if everything goes well, we’ll be able to get haircuts and things like that again.
Pretty Gritty (virtual) Tours
Until we enter phase two, we won’t be able to go visit the places in Tacoma that we all love safely. Normally, the Puget Sound’s most decorated walking company offers lots of in-person tours. However, since we can’t go outside Pretty Gritty Tours is doing all of the legwork for us.
Their Facebook page is chock-full of exciting virtual tours of places like Ft. Nisqually, Wright Park, Historic Proctor District, and even a haunted tour of the Foss Waterway. Don’t sweat it if you missed watching one live, just scroll down on their page to find what you’re interested in and watch a replay.
FabLab is making masks for medical workers
FabLab, a 3D printing learning facility and makerspace, has pivoted their focus and is now providing PPE (personal protective equipment) to essential workers and medical workers who are literally coming face-to-face with COVID-19.
On their site you can find ways to support them financially, volunteer, or info on how to request a mask.
Rapid Murals in Downtown Tacoma
Due to the temporary closure of many businesses, windows have been boarded up to protect the valuable goods on inside. While this may be practical, it’s not pretty.
Spaceworks has commissioned artists to paint the plywood and keep Tacoma looking vibrant. The Rapid Mural project “serves to 1) reduce crime and graffiti, 2) support local businesses, 3) provide income for local artists, and 4) offer civic hope and positive messaging.”
To make matters even better, Downtown Tacoma Partnership is offering these murals for free to businesses in downtown. You might not be able to go out for a nice dinner on Pac Ave right now, but the next time you’re grabbing takeout have a look at some of the hard work that’s now on display.
(Additional funds are available for murals in other business districts. If you know a business owner who’d like to be matched with an artist go here.)
Another excellent program facilitated by Downtown Tacoma Partnership is Hero Meals. Their mission is to feed the frontline heroes who have been braving the virus. These are people like medical workers, first responders, grocery clerks, and bus drivers who do essential work.
Just $25 will feed three essential workers, with food from some of our favorite local restaurants. So, if you feel like spreading some love, feel free to donate!
Tacoma Public Library story time
Every Friday, from 1:00pm to 1:30pm, Tacoma Public Library is offering a virtual story time via Facebook live to fill the hole that’s been left by their physical branches being temporarily closed. All ages are welcome, because you’re never too old to hear a good story. Check out their website for more details.
(Lunchtime storytelling also happens from 12:00-12:30 some days of the week. Check out the library’s online calendar for details.)
Crisp Greens’ meal donations
Sixth Avenue’s own Crisp Greens has also been feeding the essential workers in the frontline. So far, they’ve donated 4,461 meals to first responders and it looks like they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon!
If you have a little bit more to give, you can donate three vegan meals to first responders for only $21.
T-shirts for Tacoma
T Town Apparel is supporting fellow small, local businesses during this tough time by printing custom shirts. They started with a goal of $11,000, but have since skyrocketed past it and are now striving for $50,000 dollars.
Ten dollars from each sale goes to the small businesses each shirt represents. If you’re up for refreshing your wardrobe and supporting great places like The Swiss, Zodiac Supper Club, Catffeinated, and the Nearsighted Narwhal, head here.
Also using shirts to support local businesses is Brand Stratos. Simply pick which of these designs you like best and the business you’d like funds to go to. Ten dollars from each shirt will go to that shop, or $20 from the sale of each hoodie.
This campaign just kicked off, and so far they have these business recipients lined up: Valhalla Coffee, Food is Free Project Tacoma, Tacoma Historical Society, Destiny City Tattoo, Georgio’s Catering Company, and Kimball Coffeehouse. Go here to shop.
Free therapy sessions for healthcare workers
I can only imagine how taxing it must be to work on the front lines during the outbreak. Thankfully, Phebe Brako-Owusu, LMFT is offering free counseling to Washington State healthcare workers.
A solution is in the works!
Just down the road at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Madigan Medical Center is performing life saving research to fill the knowledge gaps in the puzzle that is COVID-19. The most promising developments are the trials performed on remdesivir, which has shown exciting promise in animal trials combating other viral diseases like SARS and MERS.
The most important thing to remember right now, is that life is still beautiful. Sure, It would be nice to hit the bars on 6th Avenue, hug a friend, or (believe it or not) go into work—but there is a light at the end of the tunnel that will continue to wrap around us if we keep up the good work.
Tacoma has had a number of remarkable responses to the outbreak of COVID-19, medically and socially. So many, in fact, that we couldn’t gather them all into this article. Help us out by telling us about other fantastic happenings/programs going on in Tacoma by leaving a comment below!