Drive-through event provides census assistance

Staff Writer | September 9, 2020 1:00 AM

MATTAWA — Volunteers from a number of Mattawa agencies and organizations got together Friday afternoon to make it as easy as possible to fill out a census form with drive-thru assistance.

Unfortunately, hot weather and cranky technology combined to make the task more difficult than it should’ve been. Volunteers were supplied with tablets, but a warm day caused them to overheat.

All was well until the volunteers tried to submit the finalized census form, only to have the tablet refuse to process it. The crew remedied that by placing the tablets in a cooler.

Once the tech started working volunteers helped people fill out the census form. Norma Avalos, one of the organizers, said the event did double duty, also serving as a way to provide people with information about the coronavirus pandemic. Participants who filled out the census form also received a tote bag with masks and information about the coronavirus and how to combat it.

It was the second census awareness event sponsored by the city, Avalos said.

Participants also got gift certificates from their choice of four Mattawa-area restaurants, La Popular, La Perla Tapatia, Corvid Coffee or Sabor Nayarit.

The event staff included volunteers from the city of Mattawa, the Mattawa Police Department, New Hope, the Columbia Basin Health Association and the Yakima-area wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Cheryl Schweizer/Sun Tribune

Rosa Martin, left, and Eduardo Saldivar, right, were volunteering at the drive-through census event in Mattawa when they realized they hadn't filled out census forms. Carlos Ruiz of the Mattawa CBHA clinic watches their progress.


Cheryl Schweizer/Sun Tribune

Alex Zesati of the Mattawa Police Department was among the volunteers helping residents fill out census forms at a drive-through event Friday.