Free summer activities and academics at VISD
Vashon Island School District is offering kids a summer filled with free activities and academics, focusing on art projects, games, cooking, nature walks, frisbee golf and much more.
Youth can also pick up skills in math, reading, and writing skills to help them succeed in the next grade and beyond. VISD educators will lead all classes, which will take place both indoors and outside. The no-cost experience includes limited transportation and meals. All programs will take place between July 26 and August 19, with all class times from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. See the line-up of classes here tinyurl.com/57948hum; and register here tinyurl.com/mfkn5jr6.
Picnics To Go makes a return
The Vashon Food Bank is gearing up for another summer full of fun and free meals with Picnics To Go.
The summer meals program, held in Ober Park since its inception in 2014, underwent a COVID transformation last year. Instead of offering free meals and activities to youth in Ober Park, the food bank teamed up with the Vashon Island School District to offer free grab-and-go meals for anyone who needed one from Vashon Island High School and from drop spots across the island served by a school bus. It went so well last year — the food bank ended up serving twice as many meals — that they report they’re sticking with the same plan.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Monday, June 21 to Friday, August 20, grab-and-go meals will be ready for pickup from Vashon Island High School each weekday and from school bus drop spots at pre-scheduled times. Check out the bus route map online at vashonfoodbank.org.
Utility bill assistance available
Customers should take action now to get help with overdue utility bills, before the ban on disconnections expires on July 31.
To help struggling customers, the state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved more than $40 million in COVID-19 bill relief programs for customers of PacifiCorp, Puget Sound Energy, Avista, Cascade Natural Gas and Northwest Natural Gas, according to a May 26 media release from the UTC.
Customers are eligible for up to $2,500 per year in additional bill assistance if they earn no more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
The customer assistance funds are available in addition to federal Low Income Home Energy Assistant Program grants or existing bill assistance programs, and long-term payment plan options, and can be combined with other grants to help reduce outstanding balances.
To apply for assistance, contact your utility company. Whether or not you qualify for the COVID-19 assistance funds, utilities must work with customers to go over their options such as payment assistance, payment arrangements, balance billing, and due date changes. Even if you think you don’t qualify for help, you should still call your utility today.
In addition, deposits, late fees, and disconnection fees are on hold until February 2022.
For more information, visit the UTC’s Covid Customer Assistance page. Customers facing disconnection should contact the UTC’s Consumer Protection division: visit online, call 888-333-WUTC (9882), or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Translation services are available.
For help with water and wastewater bills, the federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program has grants available. The FCC also offers the Emergency Broadband Benefit to help households afford internet service during the pandemic.