By Krizelle Solidum

 Pay It Forward Friday, a group on Facebook started by Mayor Andrew Cremata, highlights good deeds within the community. The idea occurred to Cremata when he was on a hike and thinking through the effects on the town of not having a cruise ship season.

“I needed to help focus the town’s energy in a positive direction and remind everyone that we can’t let fear take control,” said Cremata. He thought of how it feels better to him to give a gift than to receive one.

The Pay it Forward Friday group came to life when Cremata posted the idea and started the Facebook page in late May. The group has 207 members who are spreading cheer to individuals by way of gift cards to grocery stores, plants and desserts.

One of Cremata’s favorite Pay It Forward Friday gifts was a bug-bite salve from Maiden Alaska, a local company. Other Skagwegians, like Raniyah Bakr, had some pink peonies dropped off at her front door. Holley Drake was gifted fresh mint leaves and pea seeds. 

The group helps to remind people that supporting the local community — especially during this summer season without cruise ship business — is important

Along with helping local companies, Cremata wanted a way for the community to feel connected again after COVID-19 quarantine. Living in a small community means that seeing neighbors and other community members often is the norm. After staying home for the past several months, “it feels like we’re no longer familiar with one another,” said Cremata. 

“You don’t have to wait until Friday if you’re having a bad day, nothing to turn it around quicker than doing something nice,” he said.