With Spring Here and Summer on the Way, Rainier Nonprofit Attempts a Rebound on Events

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Linda Johnson on a recent, rainy Thursday afternoon sat in the back of the Rainier Senior Center stuffing plastic Easter eggs with candy, gift certificates and many other small treats. 

That’s because We Love Rainier, Washington, is planning on hosting one of its first in-person events of the year. 

On Saturday, April 3, the local nonprofit organization composed of neighboring do-gooders will host an Easter egg hunt at Wilkowski Park, the details of which are to be determined. More than 1,000 eggs will be hidden by the Easter Bunny that day, though. 

“We need to have something for them to look forward to. Life is as uncertain as it is, and it’s more important to focus on the positive,” said Linda Johnson, treasurer of the Rainier Senior Center. 

Since the onset of COVID-19, it’s been an uncharacteristically quiet year for We Love Rainier, Washington. But that’s, hopefully, about to change. 

As Washington state moved into Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Roadmap to Recovery Plan this week, and as both businesses and events continue slowly coming back, Rainier residents are holding out hope that this summer could look much different than last year’s. 

“I don’t think we’ll be able to do everything we want to do, but I think we’ll be able to do a lot,” said George Johnson following an in-person We Love Rainier meeting. 

Many things are on the docket for the citizens group. From a spring kids parade, to a summer talent show, to a rearranged version of the city’s signature Rainier Round-Up Days, to a summer street dance festival. The group is remaining diligent in planning with hopes that COVID will continue its slow decline of activity. 

“COVID has rules, but you can still be neighbors. You can still be courteous,” said Rachele Stephenson, a member of We Love Rainier. 

There will be challenges, regardless. According to George Johnson, the group only has about $2,000 for events the rest of the year, and that includes covering the holiday event season.

The group is looking to continue fundraising by way of fruit sales this summer.

Though they have lots of ideas, We Love Rainier is also soliciting volunteers and new members who want to have an impact in their city and who want to help put on fun events for the local families. 

“We’re looking for people who want to have a hand on what’s going on in the community, and have an idea of what they want to do in the community and come with those ideas,” George Johnson said. “It’s just amazing to watch an idea take its place and blossom.” 

The group feels the work they’ve been involved in has only become more important, especially following the disbandment of the Rainier Lions Club and as COVID-19 has affected people physically and financially. 

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