POULSBO — That Thanksgiving dinner in the simple box has a story to tell.
As you know, a lot of people are having a tough time this year. Volunteers and staff members at Fishline and parishioners at St. Olaf’s Church are working hard to make sure those neighbors have what they need to feed their families at Thanksgiving. Those neighbors will pick up those neatly organized boxes this week.
The generosity of each donor is clear in each box. But each box has a much bigger, more beautiful story to tell.
It’s a story of how people drove through drenching rain to deliver food donations to Fishline and St. Olaf’s Church.
It’s a story of how Mary Elizabeth Reynolds of St. Vincent de Paul Society is moved to tears by the generosity expressed by parishioners at St. Olaf’s. They will do this again in two weeks for Christmas.
“I love this,” said Reynolds, who directs the Thanksgiving food basket program. “I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and sometimes I sit and cry because of the generosity.”
It’s a story of how individuals have come to appreciate how much they have, by helping ensure others have enough.
Gil and Carolyn Morales of Hansville said bringing a box of food makes them realize how fortunate they are. “You want to do so much,” Carolyn said.
She said we are all a step away from a personal fiscal cliff. She said St. Vincent de Paul Society is an important part of the safety net, helping people keep roofs over their heads, and keep the lights and heat on.
Now, looking at the people filing in with boxes of provisions for Thanksgiving dinners, she said, “I wonder how it all happens.”
Students Max Baumann of Kingston Middle School, and Joris Crede, Alexis Hickey and Marcella Rebar of North Kitsap High School brought in a box of food, and then helped unload vehicles that pulled up with more provisions.
Joris, 15, is an exchange student from Germany studying at North Kitsap High School. He was surprised by the number of people that filed into the church hall with Thanksgiving dinners.
This was his first time participating in a such a program. “It’s a good feeling, because you can help others,” he said.
It’s a story of how, at Fishline, volunteers accommodated Food Bank clients and organized Thanksgiving food baskets even as stormwater flooded the building Monday.
“Last year at this time, we found ourselves in a turkey emergency and our community rescued us with a display of generosity that will forever be a part of Fishline legend,” executive director Mary Nader said. “We couldn’t imagine that we’d need a different kind of rescue this year, but the result and the heartwarming display of care and concern was repeated once again.”
Monday, a volunteer noticed a trickle of water coming out of the walk-in freezer; the trickle soon became a river. The back room, full of inventory, was soon in standing water of an inch or so. Then another leak sprang on the other side of the building, where food packages are put together to ensure students get proper nutrition when they’re not in school.
“We saw that all the water from the hill above our food bank was pouring right on top of us, drowning our freezer compressor in 6 inches of water, and causing water to leak in through the roof and through our back door,” Nader said.
Volunteer Linda Clark called her husband, Randy, who unclogged the storm drain catch basin while a friend of his cleaned the hard-to-reach rain gutters. Members of North Kitsap Baptist Church came in shortly thereafter and helped clean up all the water before closing time.
More than 500 families will receive Thanksgiving food baskets this week — 72 packaged and distributed by St. Olaf’s, 430 packaged at Fishline and distributed by Fishline and Gateway Fellowship, First Lutheran, North Kitsap Baptist, North Point Church, St. Olaf’s, Suquamish United Church of Christ, and Vinland Lutheran.
Yes, each Thanksgiving dinner has a story to tell — a story of the love of one neighbor for another, a story of a community in which people have each other’s backs.
And that is something for which we should all give thanks this season.