Opinion

Your gifts help sustain the whole family at holiday time | GUEST COLUMN

BY BARBARA CLARKE

This year Helpline House is focused on supporting the whole family during the holidays by encouraging donors and merchants to support the food bank.

The food bank set new records for families served during the summer — 263 households in one week alone.

“It’s a little disconcerting going into the holiday months,” said Marilyn Gremse, manager of volunteer services.

With these record numbers, Helpline is putting an emphasis on making sure every family has access to good nutrition as well as traditional holiday food items.

“Giving Trees”

We know that some businesses and groups enjoy creating Giving Trees. In keeping with the theme of making the holidays about the whole family, the giving trees have been designed to focus on the food bank as well.

This year Columbia Bank, Paper Products, and Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church are some of the community sites providing trees for the community.

If your organization would like to help, a “Giving Tree Kit” complete with ornaments and other materials for a successful project is available. Contact Helpline if you would like to receive this kit at 206-842-7624 or office@helplinehouse.org.

Something new

This year Helpline House is encouraging donors to give a gift you can open all year by donating new books suitable for children ages 12 and under.

Parent sign-ups run until Dec. 5 for families wishing to choose holiday gifts for their kids.

Shopping will take place on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12.

In years past we have served about 150 children and expect that number to be about the same this year. Helpline will coordinate with Bainbridge Youth Services for teen gift connections.

There are several ways the community can holiday shop this year. Partnering with Eagle Harbor Book Company, on Saturday, Dec. 1 and Dec. 8, Helpline volunteers will be in the store to greet bookstore customers who can purchase books on their own gift list and include a book for a Helpline family. You can do this all through the season or purchase a gift card.

Family holiday show

Bainbridge Performing Arts presents “Hansel and Gretel,” a holiday show for the whole family, Dec. 7-23.

This holiday season the event supports Helpline House and PAWS. Helpline House gratefully accepts donations of food items and cash donations daily, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Special food treats and grocery gift cards are especially appreciated during the holidays.

Thank you for being the Neighbor Helping Neighbor this holiday season.

Barbara Clarke is a board member of Helpline House.

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