Looking Back at 2020
As we move into 2021 we are taking a moment to reflect on the past year with our five recently established core values in mind. The process of working together to define what matters most to us was vital for our organization, especially during a turbulent and tough year. Core values helped us weather the unknown and connected us to our daily work and the greater purpose of building healthier communities.
United General District 304’s
Core Values
Needs and situations evolved over 2020, and we provided tangible support directly to individuals and families. Two important programs included:
CARE Packages & WIC
Creating CARE (Compassion, Awareness, Resources, and Education) packages for families with young children early in the year. Nearly 300 packages were customized with diapers, books for kids, locking medication storage containers, and resource guides. In addition, our WIC clinics served 650 families with remote appointments and EBT cards.
Money for Fresh Produce
Distributing over $36,000 in Skagit Fruit and Veggie Prescription Bucks to over 50 participants experiencing or at risk for chronic disease and food insecurity to spend on fresh produce at local stores and farmers markets.
Throughout 2020 we worked closely with existing and new partners to leverage resources and accomplish our goals. Highlights include:
Partnering for Safe
Drug Disposal
Working with law enforcement, the Swinomish tribe, and other local community coalitions to collect 512 pounds of unused or unwanted medication for safe disposal during October’s National Drug Take Back Day event.
It Takes a Village...
Securing funds as a Help Me Grow affiliate to distribute basic needs for babies to families throughout Skagit County. The Children’s Council of Skagit County, a program of District 304, worked with the Diaper Bank of Skagit County and 8 other organizations to distribute 88,650 diapers, 2,976 packages of wipes, 258 containers of formula, and other items including car seats, soap, laundry detergent, and thermometers.
As many of our programs and services are typically held in-person, COVID forced our team to think on their feet and over Zoom. We explored ideas for new ways of reaching people and rapidly turned them into reality. Successes include:
Creative Thinking from Concrete Farm to School
Adapting Concrete Farm to School’s programming to reach students and their families at home. Staff created and distributed over 3,000 recipe kits to families in Concrete and Sedro-Woolley, featuring local produce and healthy recipes. They also took kitchen lessons to the small screen with YouTube videos demonstrating the recipes!
Trek for Treasure Remix
Postponing Trek for Treasure’s anticipated 10th-anniversary challenge and creating a new set of hikes and safety protocols to promote active living in the great outdoors. Over 750 people from 250 teams participated, hiking over 13,000 miles in the 2020 Trek for Treasure challenge Legends Never Die.
The past year showed how much work still needs to be done to improve equity and health equity in our country. As an organization, we are committed to having hard conversations, examining our blind spots, educating ourselves, and finding actionable ways to move forward. The first steps include:
Diversity, Equity, and
Inclusion Committee
Launching a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee within our organization. Eight staff members from various backgrounds and positions were recruited to work together to assess and address individual and organizational opportunities for improvement.
Free Early Learning Programs
Prioritizing access to a healthy start in life for all children with free early learning programs. Early STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs reached 850 people with Vroom does STEM, Math Anywhere, and Paint to Learn initiatives. We also trained our partners in these programs and provided ongoing support and materials to enable them to reach out to colleagues, childcare professionals, and directly to families.
As an organization, we were entrusted with over $2.5 million grant dollars in 2020 to meet urgent and ongoing community needs. This includes:
Grants that Do Good
Securing a five-year Drug-Free Communities Grant for the Burlington Healthy Community Coalition.
Helping Others Do Good
Becoming a fiscal agent for the state-wide High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program.
We are proud co-owners of Hospice of the Northwest along with Skagit Regional Health. Our community is well served with the ongoing work of their valuable services.
We also acknowledge how fortunate we are to remain focused on our many health promotion and prevention services while public health, medical partners, and first responders continue to take on COVID-19 directly. Together, our organizations work to address the total health needs and hopes of the communities and people we serve.
If you are interested in learning more about who we are and what we do, you can visit our newly re-designed website here! Make sure to bookmark our Trainings & Events page to keep up with the many free and low-cost programs and educational opportunities we offer.