Clearly, there was a need. There almost always is. And, as always, Valley residents stepped up to help their friends and neighbors in their time of need.

Across the Valley on Thursday, volunteers from churches, nonprofits and those simply wanting to help took time out to help some of the Valley residents who are struggling this year.

Something was missing, though. The fellowship that annually draws nearly 1,000 people to Rhonda Fisher’s Thanksgiving celebration in Sunbury was gone, another strikethrough on the 2020 calendar due to COVID-19. Same thing with the holiday feast in Danville, where the Knights of Columbus have hosted families on the fourth Thursday in November for more than three decades.

That didn’t mean the tradition of helping, finding a way to get food in the hands of our neighbors, went away.

It just meant that it had to be different. Instead of hundreds of people cramming into churches and halls, there were drive-thru events in Danville, Mount Carmel, Mifflinburg, Northumberland, Selinsgrove, Shamokin, Sunbury and Watsontown.

The events came on the heels of the Feed a Friend campaign, and other school programs — like Line Mountain’s Together We Can, which fed more than two dozen families — that stepped up again.

We thank those who helped out this year. It could not have been easy, but they understood what the pandemic has done to thousands of local residents. For many of them, their holiday tradition includes helping others get a meal.

“This is terrific because it brings a sense of community, even though we have to socially distance,” Destin Fedder said as he picked up some meals from St. Pius X church in Selinsgrove. “I feel like more people should know about this. It’s really good that at a time like this, these people are giving back to the community.”

For someone like Rhonda Fisher, who spends countless hours in preparations for one day, it was never a question of not doing something this year just because she and her “angels” couldn’t host an event inside.

“So here we are, spreading the love,” Fisher said after a rainy Thanksgiving morning gave way to sun as she handed out hundreds of meals in Sunbury’s Cameron Park. “Blessing others is a blessing to me. That’s what I thrive on in my life.”

One of the best parts of the Valley is our collective response for those in need. It’s another reason for us to be thankful this year.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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