Philomath Museum bell tower’s Christmas star
The Philomath Museum’s bell tower traditionally displays an illuminated star for Christmas. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Through the years, Philomath has long been regarded as a giving community and the holiday season is no exception. Philomath Community Services, for example, has its Holiday Cheer program with deliveries scheduled to go out this week.

There is also a coat drive that will benefit local children through June’s Kids Kloset. Timber Towne Coffee has a tree up where you can pick a card and then bring in a brand new or clean, gently-used jacket before Dec. 20.

Then there’s the Giving Tree at the Arc Thrift Store in Philomath that provides gifts for those with developmental disabilities who may not otherwise receive a gift.

Those are just a few quick examples — I’m sure there are others. I wondered what Christmas in Philomath was like 100 years ago and so I did a little searching through the newspaper archives. Sure enough, the first story that I came across involved Philomath giving with a headline, “Philomath to the Front.”

An announcement had been made on Dec. 15, 1920, in the Daily Gazette-Times in Corvallis, that “instead of getting gifts from the Christmas tree, we are planning to give gifts to the tree for others more needy than ourselves. You can count on the Philomath district doing her full share and we will do all that is necessary to carry the work as far as it should go.”

Those were the words of H.D. Moreland, a Philomath banker, during a meeting of city and state officials appointed by a state organization to carry on the work of raising Benton County’s quota of $3,000 — enough to give 300 needy kids in Europe one meal a day for 10 months.

The Rev. D.J. Ferguson and Professor C.T. Whittlesey, of Philomath College’s faculty, echoed Moreland’s views.

“No matter what the calls may be, how many or how heavy, the American people will never rest content while children are in need and there is any sanely organized effort to help them,” Ferguson said. “We will take care of those 3 million and Benton County will take care of the 300 assigned her. All that is needed … is to go out and ask.”

A random story about an effort in Benton County to help feed kids in Europe, an area still struggling in the aftermath of World War I — and Philomath was leading the way.

It just fits to this day.

(Daily Scoop is a blog published by the Philomath News. This blog often contains news items but also could include opinions of Brad Fuqua, publisher/editor).