The news and our social media channels have been inundated with all things COVID-19. There are so many heartbreaking stories filling our screens of family members and friends succumbing to the virus, empty streets, empty store shelves, closed businesses and so many have had to file for unemployment. Overworked doctors and nurses work so hard to keep us safe and healthy, and well, alive. In this day and age we know that healthcare workers have access to programs to help them out financially. They are trying their best to stay clear of the virus so they can help others suffering from it, keeping away from their families so as not to risk passing it on to them.
Parallel to all of that, there also remains hope and the emergence of love in a world that is uniting. Today, we focus the spotlight locally on Bowen Scarff Ford Lincoln in Kent, and the work they are doing to help out the greater Seattle community.
Bowen Scarff recently launched a campaign to help nurses get the necessities they need, along with ready-to-eat foods to help nourish them during the long days helping their patients battle COVID-19. The team’s latest project is a GoFundMe campaign to support nurses working around the clock at Valley Medical Center in Renton, MultiCare hospitals in Covington and Auburn and Highline Hospital in Burien. The money raised will be used regularly to deliver food to the nursing staff, along with the necessities they haven’t had time to shop for because of their extended shifts.
I had the chance to chat with Mark Scarff over the phone to learn more about this campaign.
What struck me first and foremost is that Bowen Scarff had to furlough the majority of their sales staff so they would have the opportunity to file for unemployment benefits. While they are able to keep their service shop open because the work is considered essential, sales are not essential. Unless a nurse, police officer, doctor or a first responder is in desperate need of a vehicle, all sales are virtual minus one salesperson they are allowed to have in at the dealership.
That being said, Mark’s voice spoke with such pride when I asked him about the GoFundMe campaign. These furloughed employees, not being able to go to work to make ends meet at home, are coming into the dealership as volunteers to put together food bags for the medical care professionals working on the front lines.
Kari Weston, the General Sales Manager for Bowen Scarff, had learned how many of these nurses working long shifts were going to the store after work to pick up groceries for their families, only to discover empty shelves. Kari and the Bowen Scarff team collaborated and came up with the idea for the GoFundMe campaign to bring the groceries to the nurses.
Mark provided the initial seed money of $5000 for the campaign, which goes into an account that was set up for this endeavor. Mark, Kari, and General Manager, Paul Ray, go to the Costco in Tukwila and Cash & Carry to pick up all of the items, which are then brought to the showroom to be sorted. Many furloughed Bowen Scarff employees then visit the showroom to help sort and prepare the bags, helping sanitize and disinfect all the products (while practicing safe social distancing) and then the bags are delivered to the hospitals. As of this writing, over 100 bags have been delivered so far.
Listening to Mark, I continued to be amazed by this incredible Washington community. Even in the face of temporary unemployment and very trying times, we all have come together to help one another.
You can contribute to the Bowen Scarff GoFundMe Campaign for the Valley Medical Center, Multicare and Highline nursing staff here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/snacks-for-overworked-covid19-nurses
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