Lewis County is abundantly blessed with many nonprofits and organizations who care. These entities work tirelessly to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, shelter the homeless and respond to need wherever it may arise. When the COVID-19 Pandemic struck, it heightened demand for this assistance to a record, potentially overwhelming rate.
In Lewis County, these organizations rose to the challenge, banding together to leverage time, talents and resources into a rapid response, collaborative model.
The Lewis County Community Services Coalition (LCCSC) began in March 2020 with three founding entities. They united to solve one difficult problem: how to revamp the senior center model to feed seniors in need, while keeping them home and safe from COVID-19. Lewis County Seniors, United Way and Twin Transit tackled the issue head on. Lewis County Seniors made the meals, United Way handled volunteer recruitment and fundraising, and Twin Transit managed delivery and logistics. Under this collaborative model, the group was able to meet rapidly expanding need, growing to serve over 658 seniors 4,600 meals per week.
This successful collaboration grew from there. The Lewis County Community Services Coalition now includes a diverse array of entities such as Bethel Church, Hub City Mission, Lewis County Health and Social Services, Rural Senior Health Solutions, Cascade Community Healthcare, Gather Church, Salvation Army, Visiting Nurses, Catholic Community Services, Lewis County mask makers, Lewis County Veterans and KACS Radio.
LCCSC organizations meet multiple times each week to discuss, strategize and address a wide range of issues, including mental and behavioral health, food insecurity, senior health and wellness, access to essentials and services, information dissemination and more. This group exemplifies the “stronger together” philosophy.
Today LCCSC organizations provide over 5,400 meals and 735 food boxes each week. They have also developed and launched a behavioral health response that includes a call-in hotline, senior welfare checks, and other resources. They have initiated awareness campaigns to promote voluntary masking, COVID safety practices, behavioral health tools and resources, and more.
LCCSC’s mission is to “collaborate to forward social equity, reduce poverty, and improve life in Lewis County.”
This collaborative model has garnered attention from State representatives, who are now working in coordination with the group to proliferate the model throughout Washington State. They see this dynamic approach as key to reducing food insecurity and strengthening individual communities.
By combining the skills and resources of diverse entities, the Lewis County Community Services Coalition is building a future of social stability, economic prosperity and limitless potential for our community – during and after COVID-19.