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Good Cheer marks Hunger Awareness Month

Newly-appointed food bank coordinator Damien Cortez stocks the shelves at Good Cheer Food Bank in Bayview Friday morning. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Newly-appointed food bank coordinator Damien Cortez stocks the shelves at Good Cheer Food Bank in Bayview Friday morning.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

Good Cheer in Bayview is holding a month-long party and wants everyone to come.

Hunger and food insecurity lurk just beneath the veneer of the “good life” on South Whidbey, and no one knows better than the folks at Good Cheer.

“We’re trying to celebrate all the great work that has been done in the community fighting the battle against hunger,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, Good Cheer’s executive director. “We’ve made great strides but we need to do more.”

The math is both stark and clear: In June of 2007, Good Cheer’s food bank served

309 households.

In June of 2008, that number had gone to 575 households, a 54-percent increase.

During September, Good Cheer is spreading hunger awareness with three events in Bayview, Langley and Clinton.

Beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 the organization welcomes the community to Hunger Awareness Day at the Bayview Good Cheer property.

There will be veggie walks, a pie- and corn-on-the-cob eating contest, live music from Island Strings and the Wry-Whiskey Band, stick-pony races, an egg hunt at noon and the “Best Bean Recipe Cook-off.”

In a more serious vein, at 1 p.m. three noted speakers from a children’s nutrition foundation, Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest will talk about the global food crisis and how it affects the South End.

Included in the discussions will be information on how people can help deal with what many experts see as a looming crisis.

Visitors donating nonperishable food items to the food drive are eligible to win a $100 gift certificate at Casey’s Red Apple Market or the Star Store.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, the Thrift Store in Langley will feature special sales and contests, a shopping scavenger hunt and displays of local essays on hunger.

Then, in Clinton on Sept. 27 at the Thrift Store and Clothes Rack, organizers will have a barbecue, more shopping contests and announcement of the final essay, poster and beans-in-the-jar contests.

“The chefs from the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Langley are hosting the barbecue, and volunteers from Island County Senior Services are heavily involved,” McLaughlin said.

“I’m not going to quote that ‘takes a village’ cliché. But it does.”

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