Christmas Angels set up shop on Whidbey

— Created December 16, 2020 by Kathy Reed

By Kathy Reed

Whidbey’s Island Angels – or perhaps they should be called Christmas Angels – are hard at work filling in the gaps for those Whidbey residents in need this holiday season.

The unofficial group, founded this year by Cindy Buchanan on South Whidbey, has been growing in scope on every front over the past several months. There are more volunteers getting involved, there are more people being helped and the group is establishing itself as another support network on the island.

“I’m a free social worker,” laughed Buchanan. “We actually are working with a lot of social workers and organizations on the island and have reached out to a lot of them.”

Now the group is working on its own holiday program that features a Christmas headquarters where families who have been sponsored can pick up their food and gifts and “shop” for additional items.

“We connected families with sponsors,” Buchanan said. “The sponsors will drop off their items here at headquarters and then people will pick them up. Then, we’re letting those families go through our headquarters “store” to pick up additional items they want.”

Pickup times are being scheduled and strict health precautions – such as social distancing, masks and hand sanitizer use – will be followed.

When all the designated families have picked out their items, Buchanan said the headquarters will be opened to other families.

“We have a lot of other items that we will accept donations for,” she said. “There are some older game systems that would be good for 8- or 9-year-olds – we’ll be selling raffle tickets for those.”

Many of the sponsors who “adopted” families for the holidays are providing food as well as gifts. For those not providing food as well, Buchanan said Island Angels will fill in that need so everyone will get food and gifts.

The generosity of her fellow Islanders never ceases to amaze Buchanan.

“I think we live in a place like none other,” she said. “It makes your heart feel good to see so many people helping.

“We need to stick by each other,” Buchanan continued. “Things have to go back to the old ways, neighbor to neighbor, helping each other.”

Buchanan said the location of Christmas headquarters is being kept under wraps for now. Anyone with questions about making donations or who may need assistance can find the Whidbey Island Angels Facebook group and send a message. You can also find Island Angels through the Whidbey Island Community page on Facebook.