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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Good Cheer busier than ever; help needed still
Good Cheer has received so many expressions of gratitude this past year, that I am both heartened and humbled as I write this year’s holiday appeal letter. Here are just a few that touched my heart:
• A couple came to my office to make a donation in memory of their son. Addicted to drugs at age 12, he achieved sobriety at 24, but life remained challenging, and sadly, he committed suicide at age 26.
His parents said they wanted Good Cheer volunteers and staff to know that he loved how he was treated with dignity and respect here. He looked forward to seeing his favorite check-in volunteer and getting his cup of soup which he ate while he shopped. The couple said Good Cheer models what is “good” in life.
• Last week a teenager came to my office with a handful of cash. “This is for the Food Bank,” she said, handing me the money. “My father was out of work several months ago,” she explained. “Now he’s employed again, and we want to pay it forward for someone else.”
• We received kudos from representatives of Urban Food Link who came to Good Cheer as part of a study they are doing with Northwest Harvest on food banks with gardens. As we told our story I was reminded once again that Good Cheer is a product of our community, a community that built a model comprehensive program that other food banks throughout the country now want to replicate in their own communities.
• Young students drew cards for our garden apprentices, thankful for learning how to grow vegetables at Good Cheer’s Middle School Garden. One card stood out to me: it shows a fragile young plant supported by a vigorous root system. To me, it symbolizes our South Whidbey community, a community that helps children grow up unimpaired by hunger and helps local struggling families put food on the table. It also helps our growing elderly population who can’t make ends meet.
In the first nine months of this year, our food bank served an average of 888 families each month. Last month that number jumped to 961 families.
It doesn’t take much for families living paycheck-to-paycheck to spend food dollars on unexpected expenses: an increased heating bill, a dead car battery or a sudden out-of-pocket medical bill. With your support, we will continue to ensure that South Whidbey families have enough to eat this winter.
Congress has reduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, beginning this month and further cuts are expected. Charities across the country are being asked to fill the gap so that people in our communities will not go hungry.
Will you please help us fill the gap?
KATHY MCLAUGHLIN MCCABE
Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores