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Help House awaits ‘Christmas’ giving

The North Whidbey Help House gave out 26,000 pounds of food last month to needy people. To keep up with the demand, the food shelves needs community support.

Help House volunteers hope shelves fill after the 15th annual “Christmas in July Food and Fund Drive” takes place.

The annual fund-raiser starts today, July 9, when volunteers from NAS Whidbey Island hold a donation car wash at Wal-Mart.

On Thursday, July 14, people can get a first-hand look at the Help House by attending an Open House beginning at 5:30 p.m and continuing until 7 p.m.

Next Saturday, July 16, volunteers descend on the supermarkets in Oak Harbor. They will hand out flyers to shoppers outlining Help House needs and encouraging them to donate food. Volunteers from the Soroptimists Club go to Albertsons, volunteers from Oak Harbor Lions Club head to Safeway, and volunteers from Kiwanis will be in front of Saars Market Place.

Jean Wieman, Help House executive director, said donations can drop off during the summer months while donations are normally the highest during the holidays.

“Everybody remembers people during the holidays, but they are hungry all year around,” Wieman said, adding the July event is designed to help ensure food shelves remain stocked.

Volunteers’ goal this year is to collect 5,000 pounds of food and collect $10,000 in cash. The event is sponsored by Soroptimist International of Oak Harbor.

Wieman said Help House doles out on average 390 food baskets a month that feed a total of 950 people.

Through June of this year, Help House has given out 2,334 food baskets which have fed 5,704 people. Beth Munns, Help House board president, describes the recipients as ranging “from those down on their luck, to the working poor with young children, to the homeless, to your elderly neighbor.”

Wieman said the overall numbers are down slightly from last year, but more people have asked for help in recent weeks. She doesn’t know what is causing the increase.

Help House of Whidbey Island uses a combination of food and cash donations to help feed needy people in the area. It spends between $1,000 and $1,500 on food purchases each month.

For more information about Christmas in July, contact 675-0681. North Whidbey Help House is located at 1091 SE Hathaway Street.

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