For the second consecutive year, Life Church is going out into the community to make sure that those most in need will have a meal this Christmas with its Christmas Cheer initiative.
In 2022, the Oak Harbor-based church served 460 families from low-income neighborhoods in Oak Harbor. This year, church officials have expanded to Anacortes and hope to feed 800 families.
According to Christmas Cheer Outreach Coordinator Kari Rhodes, the program has received positive feedback in its first year. Last year, a woman broke into tears after she received her bag of food, as she had only had a can of corn that day and did not know how she was going to get groceries for the rest of the week.
Rhodes said each bag contains enough food to feed five people and includes ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, gravy, rolls, brownies and Martinelli’s sparkling cider. If the household comprises more than five people, it will receive more than one bag. If it’s fewer than five, a bag should suffice.
The church identifies the communities it serves by consulting housing authorities and by selecting the neighborhoods most in need, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof. Then, with the help of 100 to 150 volunteers, the church bags the food that will be distributed door-to-door on Dec. 17 by teams of volunteers in U-Hauls. If families choose to, they can all take a moment to pray together.
Life Church welcomes community members who want to help Christmas Cheer. To sign up for volunteer opportunities on Dec. 10, 13 or 17, people can contact the church at 360-679-3158 or register online at life-church.com/events. Rhodes said the church can accept volunteers on distribution day, but it would be best to register in advance.
Monetary donations to support the cause are also welcome and can be made through the same website, via mail, or in-person at 1767 NE Regatta Drive, Oak Harbor.