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CARLSBORG — Officials with an area nonprofit embraced two tenets of the holiday season this year: It is the thought that counts, and it is better to give than receive.
The Olympic Peninsula Healthy Communities Coalition (OPHCC) turned Giving Tuesday, the now-traditional post-Thanksgiving philanthropy event, into Gifting Tuesday for 350 behavioral health workers in the nonprofit, educational and tribal sectors across Clallam County.
The move also boosted locally-owned businesses with $3,500 in purchases.
Behavioral health workers were provided small tokens of appreciation in the form of “jars of kindness” that each contained $10 gift certificates to locally-owned restaurants and small businesses as well as an Advent calendar-style collection of 31 days of thank-you notes and inspirational quotes from a selection of politicians, first responders and other county leaders.
OPHCC Executive Director Leslee Francis said the coalition’s board brainstormed potential recipients of some kindness and decided that, due to the rise in demand for mental health care during the pandemic, behavioral health care workers were a more than worthy cause.
“That’s exactly where our heart was with this project,” Francis said.
“Giving kindness is one of the most important things to us, and to make sure the gifts were sincere and show behavioral health workers how valuable and appreciated they are.”
Foregoing the initial thoughts of jars full of homemade cookies or soup, Francis and the coalition collected 31 quotes across December’s 31 days “to have something positive and kind.”
She worked with the Sequim Walmart to source 350 canning jars, no small feat in the pandemic supply chain, and had the quotes printed on colorful paper at Office Depot.
Canning jars have become a hot commodity during the pandemic and were selected to represent how valuable the aid these workers provide has been during this time.
Thank-you notes to behavioral health workers by Laura Foster on Scribd
Notes from first responders struck a powerful chord with Francis since those frontline workers deal with behavioral health crises on a daily basis — and also with the aftermath of those events.
“The Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc sent an incredibly heart-felt thank you,” Francis said. “Also the Joyce Fire Chief Greg Waters and the Police Chief in Port Angeles, Brian Smith.”
In his note, Dubuc mentioned sometimes feeling “embarrassed” by the amount of publicity and praise that first responders and firefighters receive for racing to emergencies, while the aftermath of these events — hurt and broken lives, sadness and pain and property loss — often…