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‘Hopefully when all this is over, we can be closer to each other as a community’

caption: Support the I.D. volunteers
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Support the I.D. volunteers
Courtesy of Support the I.D.

There's lots to worry about during this pandemic, as we try to stay isolated and healthy. And there's lots to be grateful for.

KUOW’s Zaki Hamid has been keeping an eye out for acts of kindness in the community, and people who are working to help others. He told me about the efforts of some young people in Kirkland.

Three students from Juanita High School -- Angelyiah Lim, Fiona Wang , and Aleksandra Cholewinska -- started an organization called Awareness for Homelessness, to give people that are experiencing homelessness some aid. They started with a clothing drive.

Now, they're putting together almost 200 COVID-19 stay-safe care packages. These packages are going to include hand sanitizer, face masks, water, feminine hygiene pads, tissues, wipes, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Each care package is going to sustain each person for multiple days. It's also going to include some note cards that have instructions on how to stay safe during this time of coronavirus.

These kits are going to go to two organizations: The Sophia Way in Bellevue, which is an organization dedicated to ending homelessness for women by providing shelter and social services; and to Tent City 3 in Seattle.

What did the teens tell you about why they decided to do this?

Since a young age, they would see people experiencing homelessness around their communities. Now that they're older, they actually feel that they can do something about it.

With COVID-19, they wanted to direct all of their efforts to helping people who are experiencing homelessness stay safe. They chose The Sophia Way in Bellevue because they are a homeless shelter for women, and that means a lot to them.

They chose Tent City 3, they said, because of the need to shelter in place. They wanted the residents to have what they need without having to leave, so they didn't have their spread or catch the virus.

I know you've also heard of something that just one person decided to do on their own. Tell me about that.

We heard from a woman named Christine Zapata. She is the owner and clinic director at Emerald City Spinal Care. She said that for the past couple of weeks she's been going to coffee shops in her community and leaving $100 there, so that anybody could come in, order their drink, and it's paid for until that $100 runs out.

She's done it a couple of times, at Mighty O’s on 12th and also at General Purpose on East Union. She said she wants to do this for every Friday for as long as she can.

She added, “I know that Seattle will get through this. Hopefully when all this is over, we can be closer to each other as a community.”

I know that people have been concerned about how the virus hit Seattle's International District pretty hard. Can you tell me what's happening now with people looking to help there?

We got a great story about three individuals, Bill Tashima, Mary Ann Midori Goto, and Sarah Baker. Those three started a Facebook group called Support the ID, in support of businesses in the International District because of the effects of the coronavirus, both economically and racially. There have been some acts of racism towards Asians and Asian-Americans lately.

I talked to Sarah. She said that they were wondering how to help the International District, since they can't just get takeout every single day. That's why they started that Facebook group. But then, thousands of people joined the group. They started thinking, how can we capitalize on this large audience?

They started a GoFundMe fundraiser. All the funds raised will go towards buying food from one of the small locally owned businesses. Then the food will be delivered to healthcare workers at a pre-specified hospital or clinic.

Last Friday, the first delivery was made to International Community Health Services. The food was from Hong Kong Bistro. This week, they're going to deliver to Harborview, University of Washington Medical Center-Montlake and Swedish-Cherry Hill. The food is going to be coming from Purple Cafe, Jade Garden and a third restaurant to be determined.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.

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