By Marcy Stamper
Seven thousand dollars — or more than $1 per Methow Valley resident — was contributed this year by individuals and businesses for food baskets for Neighbors Helping Neighbors and gifts for the Manger Mall.
This year Neighbors filled 134 baskets with fixings for a holiday meal and beyond, with items such as turkeys, cranberries, pumpkin pie fixings, and a good supply of eggs, butter, milk, flour and sugar. People filling the boxes also added items such as pasta, coffee, peanut butter, Alfredo sauce and salsa, depending on the size and composition of the household. And everyone got festive candy ornaments made by the local 4-H chapter.
After the boxes were filled by people in the chilly storeroom at Hank’s Harvest Foods on Saturday (Dec. 21), another retinue of volunteers whisked them to recipients. Coordinator Jennifer Elden estimated that the baskets would feed some 350 people.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors spent about $5,000 this year on groceries at both Hank’s and the Evergreen IGA in Winthrop.
On top of the cash donations, students at Methow Valley Elementary School collected 1,377 nonperishable food items, the Evergreen IGA matched almost $1,000 in donations with groceries, and people dropped off food at the Mazama Store, the IGA, Hank’s and the Carlton Store, said Elden.
This year there were about 75 volunteers, who collected food, emptied coin jars and packed and sorted, so many that Elden scheduled shifts for the people packing boxes.
Another $2,000 went to the Manger Mall to buy gifts for 185 children. Families picked out gifts and a soft item like a quilt or pillow, and received a stuffed animal and stocking stuffers at the Manger Mall on Dec. 14, according to co-chair Wendy Braden. Some of that money also went toward gift certificates for seniors, which were included in the Neighbors’ food boxes.
Both Neighbors and Manger Mall are projects of The Cove.