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Arlington embraces spirit of giving
ARLINGTON — It’s difficult to pick any one good deed among so many around town this time of year.
Arlington Kiwanis Club delivers 80 bags of cookies to residents of Regency Care Center. The Rotary Club prepares to delivers Christmas dinners across the region. Firefighters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, schools, churches and, it seems, every soul in Arlington is collecting food for the food bank.
It makes a person wonder how people got the habit of giving so generously.
Pattie LeBas found out just before Thanksgiving how easy it is to help people who need help.
“My husband, Mel Tingley, and I were visiting Howard [Christianson] and his son, Craig and Sheryll Christianson, one day a few days before Thanksgiving, and we were discussing the situation around town,” LeBas said. “We were thinking, what can we do?”
LeBas remembered seeing a $25 coupon for a complete turkey dinner, with stuffing, cranberries, potatoes, green beans, rolls and even some cream of mushroom soup for gravy, and soda to drink, at the Thrifty Food Pavilion.
“I talked to the manager, PJ Rowe, and asked if there was a limit on how many dinners they could buy with that coupon. When she heard what we had in mind, she said no limit,” LeBas said, adding by then it was Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
“So we got on the phone and in a half hour, we had 16 dinners paid for,” LeBas said.
“Sherry also made calls and in the end we got 31 dinners for people in Arlington.”
LeBas said she got donations from retired Arlington firefighters and the crew of Northwest Ambulance, from firefighters Chris Smith and Harold Smith, who lives half time in Arizona. They got two dinners from Mike and Rhonda Knutsen, of Stilly Auto Parts, and even her brother on the East Coast sent $100 for four dinners.
“The store covered the sales tax, and they gave the biggest turkeys they had,” LeBas said.
LeBas said she was amazed how easy it was.
“If someone can do what we did in a couple of days, imagine if everyone helped.”
LeBas has decided she will do her own campaign for each season of the year, in spring, summer, fall and winter. To contact her, call 360-271-1688.
It seems that most everyone is helping this year, with every event and every store and every business gathering donations of some kind or another. With the efforts of people like LeBas, community service groups like Kiwanis and Rotary, and the new Arlington Homeless Task Force, maybe those who need it will have food into the new year as well.
Task force plans lunches for homeless in January
ARLINGTON — After a month of research and organizing, the Arlington Homeless Task Force is preparing two initial outreach programs to provide additional food for those in need in the community starting in January.
In planning for these programs, Task Force members contacted other communities that already have similar programs in place. Margaret Dunnington and Merilyn McClure visited Monroe to observe their ‘brown bag lunch’ and were told what started as 55 lunches has now grown to 170. All communities are seeing an increase in need for assistance as people are more and more affected by a struggling economy.
The goal of the Arlington Task Force is to get additional programs in place to help meet this increase. The supplemental food programs are the first step in the plan.
Hosanna Christian Fellowship plans to host a once-a-week hot breakfast program in January. Also starting in January is a ‘brown bag lunch’ program.
Both activities are being organized by members of several Arlington churches, but are open to anyone who wishes to help.
To volunteer your assistance call Pastor Deena Jones at 360-435-3259.
Cycle Barn collects clothes for kids
The Cycle Barn MotorSports Group, with an outlet at Smokey Point Cycle Barn off I-5 at Smokey Point, collects donations for Clothes for Kids and Northwest Harvest.
Clothes for Kids can use new or gently used clothing, new socks and underwear, and cash donations, whereas Northwest Harvest can use nonperishable food or cash. Food items such as oatmeal, whole grain pastas, brown rice, tomato products, and canned good are particularly useful. Donations can be dropped off at Smokey Point Cycle Barn, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information e-mail to Caitlin Birkenbuel at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 425-921-1100.