A van packed with food, health supplies and opportunities to connect with services will serve five locations in Pacific County in the coming weeks.
That’s the Mobile Assistance Van, nicknamed MAV, a partnership between the Olympic Area Agency on Aging (O3A), the Arc of Grays Harbor and the North Beach Senior Center. The van initiative launched in October 2022, its purpose to reach the outlying regions of the Twin Harbors with essential services residents in rural places might not otherwise have access to.
Until now, the van has for the most part stuck to rural communities of Grays Harbor. But for the next six weeks it will tour through Chinook, Ilwaco, Ocean Park, Raymond and Shoalwater Bay.
With those new stops, the van is now serving a total of 12 locations. It will also attend the quarterly North Beach Project Connect event in Ocean Shores and visit other events as available. The MAV will begin serving LaPush and other areas in the west end of Jefferson and Clallam counties beginning next month, according to Michelle Fogus of O3A.
“Getting people connected with other resources is crucial,” said Laura Cepoi, executive director of the O3A, in a press release. “Often, people don’t even know what’s available, and if they do, they may not be able to get into offices or online to sign up. The MAV allows us to take resource information out to those in outlying areas and assist them in connecting to programs they qualify for.”
The van carries a variety of health supplies for COVID-19, including hand sanitizer, masks, alcohol wipes and rapid tests — as well as informational handouts. It’s also stocked with general hygiene kits, laundry, dish soap and kids’ toothbrush kits.
Food items like frozen meats, fresh produce and shelf-stable morsels are available and have helped supplement local food banks, said Jeff Moyer, executive director of the North Beach Senior Center.
All of that is free to the community and funded by a grantfrom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Washington State Department of Health.
Visit o3a.org/mav for updated schedules of all locations in Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties.