It's neighbor helping neighbor in King City, as the world moves through the coronavirus outbreak.
As a city councilor and founder of the King City Community Foundation, Jaimie Fender has kept a keen eye on efforts by the city and its citizens to navigate through the stress and uncertainty of COVID-19.
"I think as a city, we are coping very well," Fender said. "We (the city) are in constant contact and participating on various Zoom meetings and teleconferences with state and local officials."
Fender continued, "There are a number of scheduled weekly telephone calls to coordinate the efforts across the state, the county and so forth. As a city, we have gotten on board and reacted very well and very swiftly."
Fender has an optimistic view heading forward.
"The city reacted very quickly, very early," she said. "That really set the groundwork for us to be in a favorable position."
Fender cites as an example a local senior community that is taking precautions during the coronavirus outbreak.
"The King City Senior Village set into motion strict protocols very early on, which I think really protected those vulnerable residents within the senior village," Fender said. "I think all across the city, people for the most part have really taken and adhered to 'stay home, stay safe' measures."
Social distancing has been taking hold in King City.
"Social distancing is hard, especially with our neighborhoods with small families," Fender said. "I think now people are doing a much better job about social distancing when being out in public."
Speaking of King City Community Park, Fender said she was aware of only one incident of note. Shortly after the basketball court was closed, a group of teens were playing basketball, she said. The next day, the basketball hoop was removed.
Throughout the pandemic, the city has been updating citizens on closures and steps King City is taking to keep citizens healthy. These measures have been posted on the city website.
"At first, City Hall closed to the public but was still operating in full force, behind closed doors," Fender said, noting the city has now directed that staff work from home and staggered work schedules.
"As an employer, the city is doing a phenomenal job with their own staff," Fender added.
In addition to the city closures, Fender has announced that a pair of popular King City events have been canceled due to concerns over spreading COVID-19.
The Mayor's Invitational Golf Tournament, which was to be held in May, and the Fourth of July Parade have been canceled.
"This is not an appropriate time to be fundraising for an event — we as a foundation really want to work with our business community in addressing the recovery response when we move into a long-term strategy plan and a recovery plan," Fender said. "We want to spearhead those efforts within King City. We would like to pivot and focus on small business and micro-business recovery efforts within the city."
Fender's King City Community Foundation, as well as citizens, are reaching out to help others during the pandemic.
As a foundation, Fender said, "Obviously given the demographics of King City, we were very concerned with our senior population. We were concerned with how do we make sure that our isolated seniors, without access to the internet, are being taken care of."
The foundation moved to "virtual socializing," then a letter-writing campaign to lift the spirits of senior citizens who may feel alone during this stressful period.
The letter-writing campaign is called "King City Connects."
"We encourage anyone in the public to write a letter or card (or anything that can be put into the mail) and send it to the King City Senior Village," Fender said. "The senior village will distribute the letters and cards received to residents who might not be having a lot of interaction, who might need to be cheered up."
The campaign, according to Fender, has been getting traction on social media.
"Our letter-writing campaign has reached an incredible amount of people," she said. "The foundation paid for advertising on Facebook, so that we could reach as many people as possible. Through those advertising efforts, we have had interactions with something like 18,000 people."
Fender is also observing some random acts of kindness in King City, including several examples of chalk art and kids' art.
"Another fun thing I saw on a walk the other day was someone had created several sidewalk games with chalk," she said. "They did, kind of, an obstacle course, a little race track (with a start and finish), and hopscotch."
Fender added, "I am just incredibly proud of our city — I am so proud of the community for how much they have come together and are helping each other."
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