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Thank you for giving

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Letter to the editor from Sagle's Lloyd and Alice Wallace

Letter to the Bonner County Community:

 My hope is that all of you have been celebrating the reason for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season! This year my husband and I have chosen to write our Christmas letter to our family and our community to give thanks for a wonderful year at the Food Bank. The community has made it possible to share the holidays with the less fortunate of Bonner County. As program manager of the Food Bank I have watched as God supplies the needs of this ministry. It is time that credit is given where credit is due. This year was so over the top that we have to give a witness to the working of His Spirit in this world.

Every year the numbers of people considered the working poor, the homeless, and financial hard times are increasing at a rapid rate in Bonner County. The Food Bank monthly client numbers have grown from approximately 900 in 1997 when I started work at the Food Bank to some 3000 in the month of December 2004. Every year we feel the challenge and wonder how we will meet it. Yet every year the needs are met somehow. Every year we watch God’s spirit moving people to charitable acts towards their neighbors.

But, this year was exceptional! This holiday season the supply side of donations of food and money was seriously lacking. Just one week (November 16) before Thanksgiving food boxes were to be passed out, we had about 400 families asking for Thanksgiving dinner boxes from us, but had only 20-30 turkeys in the freezer. We always pray for and thank God for His support of the Food Bank ministry and watch Him supply the needs of His work. However, this year would test our faith!

The local (daily) newspaper allowed a small front page article and picture of an empty freezer, also the local radio station played a public service announcement asking for the donation of enough turkeys to make the 400 boxes. There was really nothing else for us to do than to wait. We were unprepared for the response! The next day turkeys started pouring in from everywhere and everyone! Individuals, small businesses, and large corporations alike made sure that the Food Bank had plenty of turkeys. In the end we had over 700 turkeys donated in 7 days! There were turkeys everywhere!

The number of Thanksgiving boxes from the Food Bank in Sandpoint were 414, Priest River were 98. In addition were the regular food boxes which were 186 in Sandpoint and with another 91 in Priest River for the month of November; and 191 in December in Sandpoint and 45 in Priest River. When you add all these boxes together there were 1,118 food boxes for the Holiday Months. That is one heck of a lot of food, many donated hours of work by volunteers and many grateful people for the communities help.

The Food Bank helps distribute charity dollars for 5-6 churches in the Sandpoint area as well as representing the Salvation Army. Food drives were held by churches, schools, organizations, corporations and individuals in county offices. Well over 30,000 pounds of non perishable food was donated during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season. We are reminded of Christ’s feeding of the multitudes of 4,000 and 5,000. The more people He fed and the less He had to work with the more left over there were!

God was not done supplying food bank needs! No special mention was made for money, but money came in! This is time of the year the Food Bank does the majority of it’s fund raising and blessed they were. For 2004 the Food Bank took in donations of 216,000 pounds of food and all went out to those that needed it in Bonner County. In the last 3 years the Food Bank has helped sponsor the Coats 4 Kids Program receiving grants to pay for boots, hats and mittens with the coats that were donated to the program. Some of the charity funding from the churches is used to help low income families with utility payments, shelter payments and temporary shelter for homeless.

The results of all of this charity would require a book to begin to cover. This book would have stories of tears of despair turned to tears of appreciation! There are stories of people getting back on their feet with a hand up, not a hand out, keeping their self respect and dignity. Stories of those entering eternal life! (Romans 2:14-16) Only eternity will reveal the impact of God’s Spirit in this world. I feel I am privileged to work at the Food Bank and help the people that I have over the years. To you who have volunteered at the Food Bank, I say “Thank You” you have given of your time and talents and I thank you for it. To you who have donated financially or food items, I want to say “Thank You. We wish you a happy and healthy 2005!

Lloyd and Alice Wallace

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