Giving a helping hand

  • U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Naushon crew member Jordan Dorchin, right, helps Homer Safeway assistant store manager Tiffany Biggs, center, load Hunger Bag food onto a truck as his fellow crew member James Bannon, left, packs the truck Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The Coast Guard members delivered food to the Homer Community Food Pantry Tuesday morning that had been purchased by Safeway customers as part of its Hunger Bag project. Store Manager Bob Malone said about 1,300 bags at $10 each had been sold at the Homer store since Nov. 1. Through a national program, Safeway sells the bags and donates food to charities chosen by local stores. Pallets of food are organized at the Anchorage warehouse and sent to Homer. “This year, from what I understand, the need is more than normal,” Malone said.
  • Homer Safeway checker Carolyn Bishop poses by a pallet of Hunger Bag food on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Bishop was one of the top checkers at the store who sold the Hunger Bags to customers as part of Safeway’s Hunger Bag project. Store Manager Bob Malone said about 1,300 bags at $10 each had been sold at the Homer store since Nov. 1. Through a national program, Safeway sells the bags and donates food to charities chosen by local stores. Pallets of food are organized at the Anchorage warehouse and sent to Homer. This year’s Homer Hunger Bags went to the Homer Community Food Pantry. Crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Naushon helped deliver food from Safeway to the food pantry. “This year, from what I understand, the need is more than normal,” Malone said. (Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News)
  • U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Naushon crew member James Bannon, right, helps Homer Safeway assistant store manager Tiffany Biggs, center, load Hunger Bag food onto a truck, Dec. 5, 2017. Bannon and fellow crew member Jordan Dorchin delivered food to the Homer Community Food Pantry on Tuesday that had been purchased by Safeway customers as part of its Hunger Bag project. Store Manager Bob Malone said about 1,300 bags at $10 each had been sold at the Homer store since Nov. 1. Through a national program, Safeway sells the bags and donates food to charities chosen by local stores. Pallets of food are organized at the Anchorage warehouse and sent to Homer. “This year, from what I understand, the need is more than normal,” Malone said. (Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News)

If you’re one of the lone survivors of the Greatest Generation or a child of one of those World War II heroes, today has the same meaning as Sept. 11 or Nov. 23. Seventy-six years ago, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor. On that infamous day on Dec. 7, 1941, the world changed for America. Ready or not, we got sucked into the fight against fascism. Some soldier or sailor known only to history became the first American casualty among thousands. Heroes at home and abroad joined the fight against Nazi Germany and Fascist Japan and Italy. In a day where some people now think it’s hip to wear swastikas — and not as prison tatts — it might seem quaint to remember a day when patriots killed fascists. Russians were our friends and not some internet troll trying to influence our elections.

Alaskans remember that day, too, just as they remembered when Japan bombed Dutch Harbor. In the chaos of war, we made mistakes — sending Aleuts out of harm’s way and putting them in wretched camps. Worse, loyal Japanese Americans were imprisoned. Some men in the camps enlisted and served with honor. Some of those soldiers are buried right here in our Homer cemetery.

If you see an old man or woman today with a far-off look in their eyes, remember what they went through. They saved this nation, and when the war ended, helped rebuild Europe and Japan. We came together back then in a great fight against an unimaginable evil, and we won.

But this also is a season of peace, where we hope to study war no more. Embrace the magic of the season, the sound of snow falling on spruce trees, the twinkling lights of our town. Be kind and charitable in the fellowship of friends, perhaps with these Best Bets:

BEST BAGGED BET: As Homer is a fairly eco-friendly and concious place, it should hardly come as a shock that it has jumped on the bandwagon of a national organization that seeks to reduce the use of plastic bags and replace them with handmade ones, one community member at a time. The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies will host a sewing bee for the public to help make “boomerang bags,” which are part of the grassroots community movement. The event will be held at the Coastal Studies office at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12. It is free and open to the public. Participants need not have sewing experience to help. Those who would like to bring their own sewing machine are welcome to, though they are not required. This event is for people of all ages.

BEST BIO BET: Continuing on a somewhat scientific theme, you can also catch the screening of the documentary “Resilience” at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Homer Theatre. What a nice way to get inside away from the cold but keep your mind stimulated at the same time. “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope” chronicles the birth of a new movement among pediatricians, therapists, educators and communities, who are using cutting-edge brain science to disrupt cycles of violence, addiction and disease. There will be a panel discussion after the film. The cost is a suggested donation of one non-perishable food item.

BEST BRING YOUR FRIENDS BET: It’s that time of year again, folks.The annual Share the Spirit Spaghetti Feed will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12 at the Homer Elks Lodge. It costs $12 per person or 12 cans or pounds of food. Kick off the holiday season and help fund Share the Spirit’s holiday baskets. Bring friends and family. Local entertainment and a silent auction and talent show will be held from 5-6 p.m. To-go orders are welcome. To place to-go orders, call 235-2127 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12. For questions, call Sharlene at 299-7664.

BEST BREWED BET: Nothing says holiday season quite like some holiday-themed steamy soup. Join the board of the Pratt Museum at Grace Ridge Brewing for “Hearty Holidays Soups” from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8. Participants will enjoy a selection of hearty holiday soups and the chance to win door prizes including a family membership to the Pratt. All proceeds will benefit the Pratt Museum. The cost is a suggested donation of $10. For more information, contact Sue Fallon at 907-399-2449.

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