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Merry Christmas, and here’s $50
Santa came early to several visitors to Good Cheer Food Bank in Bayview, thanks to members of three South End organizations.
Beginning shortly before noon, volunteers handed out 20 holiday cards outside Good Cheer on Thursday, Dec. 23. Inside each card was a crisp $50 bill.
“It was really cool,” said Sue Steele of American Legion Post 141 Auxiliary in Langley. “I have to tell you it was very rewarding.”
The money represented $1,000 raised by the Auxiliary, the Sons of the American Legion and the South Whidbey Saggers, a group of about a dozen South End women older than 60.
The American Legion members annually raise money for gifts and food for selected families in the area, but the unusually large amount received this past holiday season prompted them to rethink their game plan, Steele said.
“We were have trouble deciding which families to help,” she said. “Then we figured this would be a good way to spread more cheer.”
Steele and Terri Campbell of the Legion Auxiliary, Andy Campbell of the Sons of the American Legion and Cara Collins of the South Whidbey Saggers greeted Good Cheer shoppers as they left the building, helped carry their parcels to their cars, then handed them a card with the $50.
Steele said most of the recipients reacted with shock and surprise, then gratitude.
“It was awesome,” she said. “We’ve already received a few thank-you notes. One woman said it was great that people would be thinking of her.”
“Fifty dollars is a lot if you don’t have any money,” Steele added.
She said Good Cheer staff helped guide the group to deserving recipients.
“One gentleman obviously lived in his van,” she said.
“It was an extra-special day,” said Kathy McLaughlin, Good Cheer’s executive director. “It put smiles on the faces of the families, which put smiles on the faces of the volunteers and staff.”
Steele said the groups hope to do something similar with money raised during the next holiday season.
“We hope to help as many families as we can,” she said.