Christmas in July Raises Hunger Awareness

Santa hats on a day when the temperature topped 100 degrees might seem a bit out of place. But not if you are familiar with Positive Life Radio’s “Christmas in July” food drive. This year, the July 25th event brought in more than 14,760 pounds of food and personal care items for local food banks.

“Summer is a tough time of year for many food banks,” says Kevin Krueger, Positive Life Radio station manager. “I’m really proud of how Positive Life Radio (PLR) listeners responded to the need—coming out on a 100-degree day to give. It’s a privilege for us to serve our communities in this way.”

During the food drive, PLR aired Christmas music from noon to 6 p.m. as staff members called in live reports and stories from each location. Food was collected in Lewiston, Idaho, Pendleton, Ore., and the Tri-Cities, Moses Lake, Spokane, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, and Yakima in Washington.

The annual Christmas in July food drive increases awareness that families struggle with hunger all year long, not just during the holiday season. “It brings the Christmas spirit out in people,” says Krueger.

As Christmas in July becomes a regular summer feature in many communities, more community groups are holding their own food drives in the weeks leading up to PLR’s event. Elizabeth Nelson, PLR program director, spent the day in Yakima. “A troop of Girl Scouts from Granger came in with the back of Suburban full of food,” Nelson says. “They’d been going door to door for at least a week beforehand.”

Sali Miller, PLR office manager, talked with the Grace United Methodist Church in Walla Walla, Wash., which handed out paper bags in the neighborhood with signs explaining what they were collecting for and when they would come back to pick them up. “They came with two cars full of bags and boxes, some of them decorated with wrapping paper,” says Miller. “The kids were all wearing Christmas hats. They were so excited about putting the food on the scales and watching the totals grow.”

The Positive Life Radio network is located on the Walla Walla College campus in College Place, Wash., and is also used as a training facility for aspiring broadcasters, producers, and public relations officers. PLR can be heard on various frequencies throughout the Northwest or online at

October 01, 2006 / North Pacific Union