Food bank coordinator praises others

As coordinator of the Mount Si Helping Hands Food Bank, I want to express my sincere appreciation for the support of the people to the Upper Valley. Their community spirit and generosity has shown up in many ways. I personally have experienced this generosity as a Salvation Army bell ringer and by participating in the Giving Tree gift room program, in addition to my regular duties at the food bank.

The response of the people and businesses to the break in at the gift room is known throughout the Puget Sound area due to the TV and newspaper coverage. As a result of the community support there were many more gifts to give out than before the break in. I observed a similar response to the Salvation Army bell ringing. At my station in front of Safeway alone we collected almost $3,000.

All the food banks in the area have experienced a dramatic increase in need. As a result of past contributions, Mount Si Helping Hands is one of the few food banks that has been able to keep up with the increased need. The large amount of food purchases required seriously drained our bank account. But, in the true Christmas spirit, food and money donations have enabled us to build our bank account back up. This is fortunate because the season of most need, midwinter, is still ahead. Continued support is needed.

All of the donations would be for naught without implementation. The programs mentioned above are all run by volunteers. A large group of dedicated and hard-working volunteers of all ages is responsible for all the donations going to fill the needs of the less fortunate people of the Valley. I offer a special tribute to these people who do so much for the community.

I have been asked why I don't mention all of the people and groups that contribute to these programs. With all the contributors, some anonymous, I could not make such a list without making serious omissions. In addition, I don't want to force the newspaper to add another page.

Finally, I would like to recognize a special group of people who use these services. I refer to them with the term "customers," which is not demeaning. I have found that these people do not fit the standard stereotype. They are our neighbors who for a variety of reasons, loss of employment, low wages, sickness, or personal tragedy, are forced to seek help. They often tell me how thankful they are for the help they receive.

I would like to pass this thankfulness along to all the people who make this possible.

Kenneth P. McCarty

Coordinator, Mount Si

Helping Hands Food Bank,

North Bend

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