For many, this time of the year is a time to make good memories, eat plenty of food and exchange gifts by a cozy fireplace.
But for some, it’s also a time of great stress, worrying about money, the cost of food and a struggle to keep the heat on, according to Karen Korbelik, food bank manager of Good Cheer Food Bank in Langley.
“As soon as the cold weather hits, not only do the numbers grow but the stress level does too,” Korbelik said. “It may be a time of year that’s full of joy of holidays, but for a lot of people it is a very difficult time of year. .. It can be a difficult choice of ‘heat or eat.’”
Food banks such as Good Cheer Food Bank can help alleviate some of that stress and worry for Whidbey Islanders.
Last month, Good Cheer served 943 families, Korbelik said, with about 900 families being served on average from month-to-month throughout the year.
The shopping model food bank has been around since its start in the early 1960s. Proceeds from Good Cheer’s thrift stores help keep the food bank running, alongside donations from the community.
This time of the year, both the numbers of people needing to be served and the numbers of donations go up, Korbelik said.
“It’s been a very generous year — as well as a very trying year — for people in the community,” she said.
Some items they would specifically appreciate being donated include dairy products as well as paper towels and other toiletries.
Korbelik suggests that donors bring in a holiday food item that is special to their own families during the holiday time, such as a ham, turkey or other traditional item that would fit well in a holiday dinner. And as always, canned goods are appreciated due to their good shelf life, she said.
“We are doing really well. The community is really pulling together,” she said. “We could always use more.”
Another way people can help out the food bank is to volunteer, she said.
“We always need volunteers,” she said. “There’s something that fits anyone’s skill-level or interests.”
She is grateful for the community support, she said.
“We have a very giving community,” Korbelik said. “There will always be a need to remember your neighbors.”
The Good Cheer Food Bank is located at 2812 Grimm Road, Bayview. It is open 6 days a week: Mon., Wed., Thurs., Fri. and Sat. from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. plus Tuesdays from Noon – 7 p.m. It is closed Sunday. 360-221-4868 http://goodcheer.org/