When Christmas celebrations feature copious amounts of food — from sweets filling breakroom tables to family dinners that leave everyone stuffed — hunger can be the last thing on our …
When Christmas celebrations feature copious amounts of food — from sweets filling breakroom tables to family dinners that leave everyone stuffed — hunger can be the last thing on our minds.
But thankfully, Powell hasn’t forgotten about the hungry this holiday season. In fact, efforts to help those who are struggling have ramped up in our community.
The Kringle House opened its doors just after Thanksgiving as a grand Christmas display for a good cause. Located at 280 N. Bernard St., the Kringle House remains on display through Christmas Eve and tour-goers are encouraged to donate a bag of food or make a monetary donation for local food pantries. Chris Pelletier of Powell was inspired to open the Kringle House as a way to raise support after hearing that last year, the Lovell food bank ran out of food before Christmas.
“It’s terrible any time of year someone goes hungry. No one in this country should go hungry,” Pelletier said.
The Kringle House is just one of many ways the Powell community has shown its heart for the hungry this holiday season.
In mid-November, the Empty Bowls fundraiser hosted by Northwest College art faculty and students raised more than $5,100 for Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes. Following the dinner, attendees took home their handcrafted bowls as a lasting reminder of those who are hungry.
Just after Thanksgiving, Powell’s Soroptimist group hosted its huge holiday craft fair and waived the admission fee for those who brought canned goods for Loaves and Fishes.
During the Country Christmas weekend, a pie sale at Union Presbyterian Church raised $2,700 for Backpack Blessings, a nonprofit that provides food for local children over the weekends throughout the school year.
Meanwhile, Park County libraries are accepting food for library fines through Dec. 31. As part of the Food for Fines exchange, library patrons can bring non-perishable food items for people or pets; donations will go to local food pantries and animal shelters.
In addition, Perky J Upholstery in downtown Powell is collecting other essential items, such as toothbrushes and diapers, to distribute to local families.
All of these efforts are in addition to the Christmas Basket program, which provides food and toys to local residents in need. A new team of volunteers stepped up to continue the program, which last year saw more than 120 families qualify for Christmas Basket assistance.
While these examples show Powell’s caring and generous spirit, we know this list doesn’t include all of the ways our community is helping others. Churches, schools, businesses, nonprofits, neighbors and strangers look for ways to serve those in need — especially at Christmastime.
But the need for food donations and support will continue after the holidays. Unfortunately, hunger is a reality in Wyoming, as about 71,000 residents face food insecurity each year. That means they can’t provide healthy food, don’t have enough to eat or skip meals to make ends meet, according to the Wyoming Hunger Initiative.
Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon launched the initiative earlier this year, with the goal to end childhood hunger in Wyoming. Gordon said she isn’t interested in reinventing the wheel, but rather, hopes to bring organizations together to direct attention to a united effort.
For Powell’s part, we’re glad to see so many local residents stepping up to help ensure no one goes hungry here.