Since opening its doors in the early 1980s, Northwest Assistance Ministries has provided assistance to an increasing number of local families in need each year, including assistance with holiday food and toys.
The annual holiday food and toy distribution, known as NAM’s Season of Blessings, consists of staples needed for preparing two full holiday meals, complete with a turkey, vegetables, side dishes, and dessert, and also includes toys for families with children. The first meal is distributed at Thanksgiving and the second in December, along with toys. For the past couple of decades NAM has consistently provided food for about 500 families, and toys for around 1,200 children each holiday season.
In the midst of the pandemic in 2020, which resulted in lost jobs and income for many local families, the number in need of assistance from NAM nearly tripled. The effects of the economic impact dragged on through 2021, as an ongoing supply chain crisis and inflation made financial recovery increasingly difficult for NAM’s clients.
However, the same economic factors driving the need for NAM’s assistance – rising prices and sparsely stocked shelves – were making donations more difficult to secure, creating additional stress for organizations trying to help families in need.
After a donation deadline extension and the overwhelming generosity of the community, NAM was able to meet its goal and provide two full holiday dinners for over 1,500 local families and toys for more than 5,000 children – over 15,000 gifts.
In addition to toy and food donations from individuals, NAM’s supporting congregations collected more than 5,000 toys, and PV Fluid Products donated 2,800 turkeys. For the past several years, PV Fluid Products has consistently provided the turkeys needed for the project. "We could not provide meals to this many families without our partners from PV Fluid Products", stated Les Cave, NAM CEO. The project also raised nearly $500,000 in monetary contributions from individuals and corporations.
Organizing a distribution of this magnitude is not an easy task, and would not have been possible without the community contributions. Preparation began in October, with hundreds of volunteers dedicating a collective total of nearly 2,000 hours to organizing food and a warehouse full of toys for distribution. "Once again, NAM works because of the support of the community and the dedication and hard work from our wonderful volunteers" added Mr. Cave.
NAM is grateful to everyone who donated and/or volunteered their time to make sure all the families counting on NAM were blessed this past holiday season.