If you live in Pine or Strawberry and have been waiting to receive the 2020 Census via the United States Postal Service, it is coming.

The 2020 Census was mailed to physical addresses, but the form has not been delivered to P.O. box holders.

Recently, 3,000 pieces of mail arrived addressed to “Current Resident” to a street address that doesn’t exist in the Pine mail system, making it impossible for Postmaster Raymond Argel and staff to figure out which P.O. box to deliver them to.

They were sent back as undeliverable — three times, Argel said.

“It’s happening in every small town across the county,” Argel said. He has spoken to the Census department and Pine-Strawberry residents who have a P.O. box address will receive a form soon.

If you don’t want to wait, you can also go to https://azcensus2020.gov/ to complete the 2020 Census. You can also respond by phone by calling 844-330-2020.

Remember that Census data guides how federal funding is distributed to states and communities for the next 10 years. Your response supports our local education, health care, public safety, the elderly, our veterans, first responders, infrastructure and more.

Only one 2020 Census need be completed per household.

Group seeks donations

The Community Educational, Recreational and Civic Association (CERCA) of Pine-Strawberry is in charge of the community center and handles all building maintenance. Some buildings are more than a 100 years old.

The group has struggled to collect funds to replace equipment.

“We have always struggled,” said CERCA’s Treasurer Ginger Jeffers. “We are running on a shoe string trying to keep these historical buildings up and going.”

The immediate need is a propane meter that has failed and will cost $529. There are four or five other meters that are being checked, said Jeffers. Given that they are all about 30 years old, it’s likely that that bill will grow.

The current pandemic has canceled the spring and potentially the summer events held at the beloved community center in Pine. These events are the main source of income for CERCA.

“Everyone with a space pays rent and utilities,” Jeffers said. “They also contribute part of what they make, (but that) still doesn’t cover (everything) without additional donations.”

By way of explanation, CERCA has bare minimum expenses. The community center was the school campus until 1989. Once in the new building, the school leased the old campus to CERCA for community events for $1 per year. The biggest requirement is that CERCA maintain the property. Which they have done.In the fall CERCA will mail a flyer to every property owner and resident asking for a nominal donation, but the propane meters can’t wait until then.

The average annual income for CERCA runs about $50,000 Jeffers said. She’s been their treasurer for about 15 years. This year she thinks they will be lucky to hit $43,000, leaving them short.

“We’ve never gotten down to our last dollar,” Jeffers said.

If you can make a donation, mail it to: CERCA, P.O. Box 163, Pine, AZ 85544.

Senior Thrift, dining

The Pine-Strawberry Thrift Shop and the Senior Center Dining Hall are important to our little mountain town. Their governing board is working on protocols for the reopening of both, said Board President Sheri Earp.

In the meantime, the dining room has been serving 20-30 Meals on Wheels to local seniors who are members of the dining hall and are homebound or unable to cook for themselves.

If you have a neighbor, family member or friend in this situation, call the senior center at 476-2561 to get them on the list.

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