By Brandon Hansen/Brandon is the managing editor of the Chewelah Independent and a graduate of Eastern Washington University. If you’d like to send Brandon a Letter to the Editor, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I remember not too long ago I had more than a few friends send me a link to an article while saying, “Isn’t this where you’re from?” and “Well, you’re going to enjoy this…”
It was the article referring to Chewelah as the poorest town in Washington.
I don’t think I need to spend half this article explaining economics to show that this simply isn’t true and that the metrics they used for that were broken.
But instead I’ll pose this question, if Chewelah was the poorest town, why the heck is it so generous?
This Saturday, Hands Across Nations hosted its annual fundraiser to help its operations in Northern Uganda. You’ve probably seen the articles in this very paper that Carolyn Jones sends in — since Uganda probably has quicker internet than Chewelah — of the plight and work that Hands Across Nations does in that country.
So supposedly the “poorest” town in Washington still managed to pack the Chewelah Civic Center, so much so I’m pretty sure I tripped roughly eight people by leaning back in my chair at one of the dinner tables. These people attended the fundraiser, paid money for the tickets and bid on silent and live auction items.
The totals for the fundraiser were in the thousands of dollars. This to help a country that is across the globe. Most of us, probably darn near all of us will never set foot in Uganda. This money is going to that country from our little slice in the woods. We aren’t getting any economic feedback, this is purely just people donating money to help Hands Across Nations to teach people how to read and write.
Northern Uganda was devastated by a 20-year war that just ended in 2007. The economy is in shambles and the quality of life is not high at all. Throw in government corruption and rampant illiteracy as well. Uganda is probably a place you wouldn’t put on your vacation list, but several local people are donating their time and money to make the world a better place there.
So while Hands Across Nations may not make a clickbait article headline on Facebook that you can show your friends, it shows something about Chewelah more telling than median income.
It shows the community is rich in a lot more things than money. Generosity. Kindness. A willingness to help.
Thanks Hands Across Nations for showing us what Chewelah is capable of and shining a positive light on the people of this town!