The people of the Walla Walla Valley are very generous.
Over and over again they come through when their neighbors need help. Valley residents did it again recently when they topped last year's record donation to the National Association of Letter Carriers' annual food drive
Between Walla Walla and College Place 13,736 pounds of food was collected, nearly a ton more than last year's record of 11,900 pounds.
"We are extremely happy and excited that we broke our own local record in a 'down' year," said Toby Swank, who coordinates the local postal carriers' drive.
Although the economy appears to be rebounding, albeit slowly, times are still tough for a great many people. Jobs have been lost and a lot of folks have gone for at least two years without pay raises.
Everybody, it seems, is cutting back on spending and having to do more with less.
Yet, the generosity of Walla Wallans continues to grow.
Last year, in the depths of the recession, the postal carriers' food drive set a record.
The local Pathfinders from the Seventh-day Adventist Church collected just under 8,000 pounds of food just one week after the postal carriers' effort.
"You can see from these two food drives being only a week apart that there is a tremendous amount of support from our community for others," said Gail McGhee, manager of the Blue Mountain Action Council food bank, which collects the food for distribution.
Successful food drives are the norm in the Valley. The Walla Walla Association of Realtors' annual Share & Care food drive takes place every fall and always brings in an incredible supply of goods, often well over 20,000 pounds.
Walla Wallans are generous at all times, but particularly when people are in real need. That's one of the many things that makes this Valley so special.