Our Voice: Thankful to those who provide food and shelter

Food and stable housing are basic needs too many people live without. This week we are thankful to live in a community that strives to provide these necessities.

More food needed

Many Mid-Columbia families struggle all year to make ends meet, but winter is especially tough. The fresh produce is gone and this week’s winter chill is a reminder that heating bills are going to climb.

If it comes down to paying the utility bill or paying for groceries, keeping warm usually wins over keeping a full stomach.

That’s why it is encouraging to see so many people come together to help gather food for the Tri-Cities Food Bank, Salvation Army, Tri-City Union Gospel Mission, Second Harvest, Golden Age Food Share and St. Vincent De Paul food bank.

These organizations do a tremendous job of trying to help people who might go hungry otherwise. An average of 200 families a day are helped by the Tri-Cities Food Bank, but the demand is rising, according to Bill Kitchen, executive director.

Many churches and other charitable organizations donate food every week, but an extra push is always needed as the holidays approach. One of the latest food drives this month is being run by Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland. The food drive is open to the public and will run through Nov. 23. Donations can be made at the main hospital or other Kadlec locations throughout the community.

Last month, car dealers at the Pasco Autoplex teamed with Yoke’s Fresh Market and Tri-Cities Prep High School for a food drive that included the auto dealers donating a portion of their profits from vehicle sales throughout the month of October. The Hindu Society also recently gave 2,235 pounds of food and $980 thanks to the children in the group who collected food instead candy on Halloween. While all this is impressive, the need is still great.

In addition to food, warm coats, boots, hats and gloves are also needed by the Salvation Army and the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission. So consider cleaning out the closet and the pantry at the same time.

For those of us who have enough to eat, an extra can of soup or a bag of pasta is not a big deal. For others, those small food items are the difference between eating something that day or going without.

Home program rescued

Affordable housing is another need in the Mid-Columbia, as families have a better chance of thriving when they have a safe and stable place to live. It is a relief, then, that the Walla Walla branch of Habitat for Humanity was able to merge with the Richland chapter in order to continue building homes in both regions.

Rising costs were threatening the future of the Blue Mountain branch and so partnering with Richland was a logical answer. We are glad the two groups were able to work it out.

This is a terrific program that gives people a sense of community and a chance to thrive, and it’s good to see our community help out a neighbor.