Volunteers exemplify South Kitsap’s caring | In Our Opinion

By and large, we know our friends and neighbors in Port Orchard and South Kitsap to be generous, caring individuals. But we’re reminded during the holiday season of that spirit when they come together to generate a better, kinder community through a number of community events.

We were reminded of that earlier this month by the efforts of Port Orchard City Council member Cindy Lucarelli and her committed group of volunteers who made the Festival of Chimes and Lights the best ever. The weather, for the most part, cooperated as residents and visitors strolled along Bay Street to admire the festive lights and visit the city’s small businesses. They made it possible for us to smile as a lineup of canines and their owners, engaged in a friendly costume contest sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, sauntered through downtown. The night was topped off, as always, by the lighting of the city’s colorful Christmas tree at City Hall.

Port Orchard’s non-profit civic groups routinely joined forces this season to boost spirits of those who are dealing with tough times. They worked tirelessly to put smiles on the faces of our community’s children. So did the South Kitsap Fire and Rescue Volunteer Association, with its parade of fire engines ablaze in Christmas lights. Helpers from SKFRVA were joined by Santa Claus as they drew out residents on a gloomy winter night in our area neighborhoods, handing out candy canes and good cheer.

On Dec. 17, Port Orchard Rotarians aligned with the area’s Soroptimist International organization to gather holiday food items, as well as toys for 101 kids who otherwise might not receive presents this Christmas. The volunteers bought gifts that now will appear under their Christmas trees. After wrapping presents and organizing food items at the South Kitsap Fire and Rescue Tremont station, they handed over these specially selected gifts of love to families identified by the South Kitsap Helpline.

These three examples are among the dozens of community efforts that were undertaken to spread holiday cheer in our community this Christmas season. We’re reminded that these expressions of caring can’t happen without the help of Port Orchard’s many volunteers.

Santa’s existence may be up for debate, but the character, warmth and goodwill of our citizens is real. To our volunteers, a very Merry Christmas.