It’s Christmas this Saturday | Editorial
July 15, 2011 · Updated 1:36 PM
North Whidbey residents should make it a point to bring a little Christmas into the lives of their needy neighbors.
The annual “Christmas in July” program is in full force today, July 16, as volunteers flock to local stores to collect food for Help House, which for many years has fed the hungry from its old house in Oak Harbor.
Members of the Oak Harbor Lions, Oak Harbor Soroptimists, Navy personnel and others will be asking store customers for food donations and helpfully supplying them with a list of the most needed food items. Support from the community has always been strong for this event, but this year the need has never been greater.
This seemingly endless recession our country is mired in has taken its toll on communities everywhere. Oak Harbor is no exception despite an economy steadied by a strong Navy presence. Social Security recipients haven’t had a cost of living increase in two years; construction workers are at the end of their unemployment check rope and still can’t find a job; and others haven’t had a pay increase for years as gasoline and food prices soar.
Christmas in July was started to remind people that hunger exists throughout the year, not just during the holidays which is when most organizations and individuals think of giving. There are plenty of turkeys in November, but not enough canned goods and, particularly, fresh fruit and produce in the summer months.
Help House Executive Director Jean Wieman said demand for food this year is ahead of that in 2010, which itself was a record year. “The warehouse isn’t as full as we would like it to be,” she told the Whidbey News-Times earlier this week.
Make it a point to stop by Walmart, Safeway, Albertson’s or Saar’s Marketplace today to help with the Christmas in July food drive. Alternately, people can drop off food at Help House, 1091 SE Hathaway St., or just mail them a check.
There are many ways to help the needy but Christmas in July makes it easy to participate. A lot of children, women and men are depending on your generosity for a healthful diet this summer.