Help House helps make Thanksgiving happen

Hundreds of North Whidbey residents will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow thanks to Help House and the many citizens who support its efforts to feed the hungry.

Bill Nance, Help House executive director, said the Oak Harbor charity will feed approximately 600 families this Thanksgiving, which has been typical in recent years.

People started picking up their food last Friday, which was “military day,” and continued to do so this week. Nance said about 200 of the families being helped this year are military. Selecting the military families to help isn’t complicated, Nance said. “The commanders know who is having a little financial difficulty.”

Thanksgiving boxes from Help House contain all the necessities for a memorable holiday meal, including turkey, dressing, yams, vegetables, cranberries, olives and butter.

A large portion of the food is purchased with money donated to Help House by businesses and individuals. “I’ll spend about $15,000 on holiday stuff,” said Nance, including Christmas in his financial estimate.

Soon after Thanksgiving, Help House will start preparing for Christmas, when about 500 families are expected to ask for help. Those who need help can begin signing up for Christmas assistance on Dec. 7.

Nance said donations to Help House slowed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but as the holidays have neared donations have returned to about normal. “Things dried up for about a month and a half,” he said. “It’s picked back up.”

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