By Jennifer Elden, Diane Johnston and Kathryn Eisenhauer
As we settle in to the New Year, we have had time to sit back and reflect on the incredible generosity of this community. This year, Neighbors Helping Neighbors delivered holiday food baskets to 130 families feeding at least 500 people in our valley. The Manger Mall provided gifts for over 200 children to open on Christmas morning. Both of these programs would not be possible without all of you.
Monetary donations, in addition to toys, pillows, blankets, books and food, came from local businesses, organizations and individuals both locally and outside the Methow Valley. Our donation jars, which are scattered throughout the valley, were emptied weekly and every penny made a difference.
Once again, a huge thank you needs to go to Hank Konrad and his employees. Hank continues to pour his heart and soul into this community and Neighbors Helping Neighbors is no exception to his generosity. From the moment we set up our donation jars and collection cart, to the week we commandeer the storage room for packing holiday food baskets, through the day we deliver, all we hear is, “What else can I do for you?” Thank you Hank Konrad, Jimmy Gariano and everyone at Hank’s Harvest Foods for your support and assistance year, after year, after year! Thank you to the Twisp Valley Grange, which has continuously opened its doors to the Manger Mall and allows us to take over their facility for an entire week. Patsy and Keith Rowland have provided bicycles for the Manger Mall drawing year after year, The Barnyard Cinema provided movie tickets, the Loup donated lift tickets and rentals, Methow Valley Chiropractic provided sleds, the Winthrop Rink gave skating passes, Trail’s End Bookstore offered discounts on books purchased for the Manger Mall, and all this much to the delight of our families and more importantly, the children.
Thank you to Liberty Bell High School for collecting more than 1,000 and to Methow Valley Elementary School over 2,000 non-perishable items to contribute to the holiday food baskets! Friendly competitions at both schools provided motivation to increase our collections and it worked! Okanogan County Fire District 6 firefighters, from Winthrop and Twisp, successfully executed another Porch Night Pick Up yielding more non-perishable items and monetary donations. Thank you to our heroes who do so much for this community.
Thanks must also go to the Methow Valley News for the incredibly generous weekly articles, to our local radio stations (KRoot, KOZI, Sunny FM, KTRJ, KNCW) for the daily public service announcements, to Katie Bristol and her staff at the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery for feeding our volunteers, and to the Rocking Horse Bakery which provided homemade rolls to every single one of our families for their holiday dinner, and Blue Star Coffee Roasters for their delicious coffee. And to our countless volunteers, which number in the hundreds; the Manger Angels, packers, sorters, gift collectors, sewers, wrappers, bakers, set-up, tear-down, inventory, shoppers, drivers, the list goes on. We appreciate your help more than words can say and could never do this without all of you!
Our hearts are full, and we hope all of yours are too, as you have embraced your Methow Valley neighbors once again this year. This is an incredible community!
Jennifer Elden is program manager of Neighbors Helping Neighbors; Diane Johnston and Kathryn Eisenhauer are co-chairs of Manger Mall.