Operation Lorax Wins National Recognition, $10,000 Grant

Operation Lorax
Christina recognized an immediate need in her community and found a way to have a lasting impact.

The American Red Cross is proud to announce that Operation Lorax, a community service project developed by Kittitas County/Yakima Valley Red Cross Service to Armed Forces Coordinator and WSC AmeriCorps volunteer Christina Escobar, has been selected as a National Award winner of a $10,000 grant from USA WEEKEND Magazine. Operation Lorax competed against thousands of National Make a Difference Day projects from across the country and is one of only ten national award winners. In addition to the grant, Operation Lorax and Christina will be featured in the April 21st edition of USA WEEKEND Magazine. Make a Difference Day – sponsored by USA WEEKEND Magazine in partnership with Points of Light, and supported by Newman’s Own– is the largest national day of community service which takes place each October.

Christina and the other 2013 Make a Difference Day Award honorees are being flown out to Washington D.C. and will be recognized at a luncheon at the historic Carnegie Library on Thursday, April 25th. Guests at the luncheon will include members of Congress and other area dignitaries.

In light of the major wildfire destruction in the Kittitas area this past summer, Christina developed a tree-planting project named Operation: Lorax for Make a Difference Day. The project was focused on educating local children about the importance of caring for public lands and engaging them in the re-planting of parts of the forests that had been devastated by the Taylor Bridge Fire. In all, volunteers for Operation Lorax planted approximately 1,000 ponderosa pines along the north side of Lookout Mountain. The project received valuable support from partners including the Washington State Conservation Corps, the Department of Natural Resources, the American Conservation Crops, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.

“We are extremely proud of Christina and are thrilled that this project has received such an incredible honor,” noted Regional CEO Terry Pollard. “Christina recognized an immediate need in her community and found a way to get a lot of different people involved in something that is going to have a lasting impact.”

A second phase of replanting for Operation Lorax is scheduled for April 27th.

To reach Christina for interviews: (509) 834-2664 or christina.escobar@redcross.org