Folks who live in the Walla Walla Valley are generous. That's demonstrated every day as neighbors reach out to each other in so many ways.
Still, what Northwest Grain Growers -- a farmer-owned cooperative -- did to celebrate a successful financial year is pretty special.
The Grain Growers, which had its best financial year since 1929, donated $100,000 to a variety of organizations and nonprofit groups.
The donations are needed now more than ever because of the current economic downturn. Money is tight all over and some folks are losing their jobs and houses. Local charities are feeling the pinch.
The Grain Growers put about 60 percent of its donations toward local agencies, most of which help those in need. About 40 percent was earmarked toward programs that directly benefit farmers.
A committee appointed by the NWGG Board of Directors decided how to divide $59,900 among various local agencies and groups. Those receiving a donation were the Blue Mountain Action Council, Blue Mountain Chapter of the Red Cross, Children's Home Society of Walla Walla, Christian Aid Center, Helpline, The Cardinal's Nest of Waitsburg, Walla Walla Council of Campfire USA, Walla Walla Community Hospice, Center at the Park and YWCA.
The NWGG Board earmarked$40,100 to education programs that help farmers. The money went toward seed breeding programs at Washington State University and Oregon State University and a commercial driver training program for farmers at Walla Walla Community College.
The donations given by the Grain Growers will benefit its members, but it will also benefit the community.
The Grain Growers' members, of course, don't expect praise for their generosity. Nevertheless, they deserve it.
NWGG's gift to so many during these difficult economic times will certainly help people get back on their feet and ultimately prosper. Northwest Grain Growers is a great neighbor.