Editorial: Community meets needs

One of the many nice things about our area is that when a need arises, the North Whidbey community is always there to help.

Help House, our charitable food bank, has seen requests for assistance increase 17 percent over the prior year, a result no doubt of the weak economy and growing unemployment. That made the annual “Christmas in July” fund and food-raising event even more important than usual, and as usual, North Whidbey residents stepped up to the challenge.

With service groups providing the people-power, donations were solicited at food stores, resulting in more than 2,000 items of food to stock the Help House shelves. In addition, $5,200 in cash was donated to add to some sizable anonymous donations that have recently been received from people who know that times are tough.

When the weather is warm and sunny, we tend not to give much thought to the homeless or desperate who live among us. At least we don’t have to think of them being wet or cold, shivering in some car or on a friend’s couch. But they still need food for themselves and their families, so it’s important that we keep the Help House pantry full of healthful food.

Fortunately, more help is on the way. The Fidalgo Avenue Block Party is quickly becoming one of North Whidbey’s most popular events. We presume the free barbecued pork dinner has something to do with that, as does the chance to mingle with friends, have a beer and listen to some of the island’s best bands for free. Half of the money raised through donations goes to Help House, and the other half to the Island County Chapter of the American Red Cross, which always goes above-and-beyond the call of duty to help our fellow islanders in need.

This year’s block party will be Saturday, Aug. 9, in downtown Oak Harbor, so make sure you attend and feed a few dollars into the big, pink piggy bank. Summer is meant for good times, but we never forget that there are always people going through bad times. That’s what makes Whidbey Island such a special place to live.

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