Opinion

Please help keep our shelves stocked

Every message from Good Cheer needs to begin with a “Thank You.”

South Whidbey is now the home of a food bank that mirrors the image of a caring and supportive community. Others in the state are now using the Good Cheer Food Bank as a model that they want to implement in their community. A model food bank that was made possible because of all of you who continually support Good Cheer through item donations to be sold in our thrift stores, shopping in our stores, food donations, monetary donations or most importantly as volunteers.

Hopefully everyone knows by now that our food bank operates under choice and a newly developed point system.

If anyone is interested in a further explanation of our operating procedures, volunteers or a staff person are always available to give personal tours or you can visit our Web site at www.goodcheer.org

The purpose of this message is to increase awareness of our current need. As you have recently been made aware through both local and national media, the United States is seeing the worst food inflation in 17 years. Many are predicting we will be seeing $4 a gallon gas prices soon.

When you read the Everett Herald and Seattle newspapers or listen to the local TV news, they are all reporting that food bank shelves are nearly empty. If you listen to talk radio, they are asking their listeners if they are considering using their local food bank while discussing the ever-growing food and gas prices.

The number of community members using our food bank is at an all-time high; in March 2008, we served 83 “new” households. Fortunately we have been able to continue to keep our shelves relatively full, but the demand is increasing at a rate that if we don’t plan, our community will also be experiencing the crisis of empty food bank shelves.

On May 10, our local post offices are sponsoring their annual “Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.” More than ever Good Cheer needs your help by participating in their efforts. It is a win-win for you and for Good Cheer, as you don’t have to pay for gas to bring your non-perishable food donation to Good Cheer; your letter carrier will do it for you.

Postal food drive information cards will be in the mail soon, please make an exerted effort to participate.

Good Cheer will also be hosting three separate community food drives throughout the next three months.

The first one will be taking place in Clinton in conjunction with Mayfest on May 24. Good Cheer will be parking their delivery truck throughout the day at Good Cheer Two and then moving it in the evening to the Clinton Community Hall. We are challenging the Clinton community to fill our truck with food donations. Everyone that contributes will be given a raffle ticket with the opportunity to win a Clinton Food Mart $100 gift certificate.

People often ask us what to donate. Now with our new truly choice program, we ask you to donate what you like or need to eat. If you are on a salt-free or gluten-free diet, chances are there are food bank clients also with those restrictions. If you eat organic, there are food bank clients that would prefer organic.

One great way to help educate your child or grandchild of the importance of giving is when grocery shopping and they choose a food item, purchase two — one for them and one to share by donating it to Good Cheer to put on the food bank grocery shelves.

Only by working together can we create a hunger-free community. As a reminder Good Cheer has special food bank buying powers. For every $1 we spend, we receive $9 worth of food, so monetary donations are always encouraged and appreciated. Food or monetary donations can be dropped off at any of our four Good Cheer locations or mailed to

PO 144 Langley, WA 98260.

Kathy McLaughlin is the executive director of Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores.

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