Holidays can be a time of great happiness, or a time when need and hunger turn those festive days on their head.

Thanks to the generosity of folks from around the Walla Walla region and hard work by volunteers, this Thanksgiving was a lot more cheerful for hundreds of families.

This is because a Turkey Bucks Fund Drive at local Safeway and Albertsons stores raised $20,000, which coupled with added donations enabled the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank to distribute 567 Thanksgiving dinners to local families on Wednesday, as reported by Chloe LeValley in Thursday’s paper.

There are a lot heroes, big and small, to applaud.

Examples include Key Technology chipping in 80 boxes of food and volunteers showing up early and staying late to help the Food Bank accommodate the large special event while still leaving room for BMAC’s usual deliveries the next day.

None of this would be possible — or needed — were it not for the acute hunger faced by many of us in the Valley.

BMAC Food Bank Director Jeff Mathias notes about one in six people in the region seeks food assistance each year, and that the average BMAC client picks up food seven times annually.

The need is more acute for older Food Bank clients, who on average need food assistance more than nine times annually.

At a time when divisiveness in our society seems to be at a high point, it is especially encouraging to see people offering a helping hand to their neighbors.

Thanksgiving isn’t the last day of need, nor is it the last chance to help out. The Turkey Bucks drive will continue as Christmas approaches, and another event next weekend will aim to stock the Food Bank as well.

The annual Feast of Carols is set for Sunday, Dec. 8, starting at 3 p.m. at Cordiner Hall, at Park Street and Boyer Avenue on the Whitman College campus. Admission is free with the donation of a can — or cans, the more the merrier! — of food.