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(Image: Farren West)
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Small Biz, Big Heart: #GiveAHigh5 Program Feeds Essential Employees

Snohomish small business owner Farren West believes "nothing we do in life, we do completely alone."

West is the founder of Key Inspection Services, a small five-person company that has seen business decline by 70% since the coronavirus pandemic hit. Although his business has been hit hard, he is grateful to be still bringing in some income and feels it's important to assist others who are serving their community every day.

"In our small efforts, we started a program we call #GiveAHigh5, whereby our inspectors contribute 5% of our income over the next 60 days to those who are supporting all of us every day," he said. "From the barista down the street who serves you your morning cup of joe, to the stock person who helps keep food in your cupboard, to the nurses, doctors, fire-fighters and police officers — if you need anything, they are here for you."

West decided to show his appreciation by donating 5% of his business's profits toward offering lunch for essential workers and first responders. His employees and volunteers chose Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett to be the recipient of their #GiveAHigh5 donation.

"Our first stop was Providence Hospital and filling the bellies of the nurses and staff who are under amazing stress working crazy hours on the front lines every day," he said. "Two of our inspectors Brandon and Jessica, delivered sandwiches from a local small business, Red Rock Subs. Brandon's wife, Blythe, is a head nurse at Providence, and we are grateful for her team's amazing sacrifice and efforts."

The company's second round of donations went to the employees of Albertson's in Clearview. Key Inspection Services joined forces with five other local businesses — Clearview Wellness Center, Keystone Kitchens, Strictly Sewers, Inc, Apoge Gym and Hydro-physics — to buy lunch at one of three nearby restaurants of the employees choice.

"One of the coolest things happened when I spoke with the manager of Albertson's about how other small businesses want to show gratitude to their employees," said West. "The manager said several other people had recently offered to buy lunches for the Albertson's employees. There are really cool people in our neighborhood, supporting small restaurants and our community. It really touched me. We have a great society when we all come together and appreciate everyone for who they are and what they bring to the greater good."

West believes it truly takes a village to keep communities running smoothly and is grateful for the hard work done by people in the service industry. He feels it is important to recognize how much we all rely on their services and efforts.

"This momentary pause in our daily routine makes me reflect how amazing people really are," said West. "I want to hug everyone and yell, 'Thank you for being you and showing up to work!' I now thank everyone from barista to the guy that checks me in when I go into Costco. Everyone is important in our society, and I am grateful to be a part of it."

West is hopeful that when the pandemic is behind us, more people will reevaluate their value systems and how we build a safety net for members of society.

"Everybody deserves a quality of life and a standard of living to survive in our society," he said. "I have friends who are watching their entire savings take a left turn. All their work just gone. It's really sad. It's not as if we have a huge, multi-million dollar company, we had some leeway, and I thought, 'Man, there's people in a hell of a lot worse-off situations than we are.' I knew we needed to do something."

"We are doing this because I think it's the right thing to do," continued West. "I think we all need to give back when we can, and I'm happy to see more of my friends helping out. This quote by Helen Keller reminds me of what we're going through right now, 'Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.'"

If you have a small business, who would like to join us in being a part of the #GiveAHigh5 program, contact West at keyinspectionservices.com or call 800-748-8766.

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