Christmas is the season for giving

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Christmas holidays are more than lights, parades and decorated trees. It’s the season for giving. As we transition from a time of giving thanks to a most holy season in which many focus on gift giving, we would all do well to remember the less fortunate.

There are so many in need this Christmas season. Some are hungry. Some have homes that are probably colder and perhaps even darker than our own because of lack rather than by choice. Some do not have a roof over their heads at all.

Here’s hoping that as we begin — or ramp up — our shopping for Christmas, we will set aside a generous contribution to help brighten the day of some of the many needy members of our community. Unfortunately, while the economy has slowly but steadily improved, many among us remain out of work, down on our luck and in need of a helping hand. Few, if any, of us can say we don’t know someone who can use a helping hand this Christmas.

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Fortunately, there are many worthwhile nonprofits and charities in our community working every day to meet those needs — the Salvation Army, Hale Community Ministries, ARM, Samaritan Ministries, just to name a few. But, as you might imagine, the needs are far greater than the limited charitable dollars any nonprofit might receive. That’s why they need our help.

Many if not most of us go through our usual routines without encountering evidence of needy families among us. But, there is a need.

Thanksgiving, First Baptist Church at its Feast of Sharing served or delivered 1,400 meals. This does not include food baskets given out by nonprofits. Take into consideration that a large number of students, who attend our local schools, receive free or subsidized meals because they come from low income families.

School holidays can bring uncertainty and hunger, a far cry from the celebrations, gifts and plenty that we associate with Christmas.

Needs just don’t exist among children, but among the elderly, many of whom must choose between medical bills, heat and food. Many are just lonely and would love the company of a friend or neighbor.

No matter how much we ourselves may be struggling, there always are people who are struggling more. The opportunities to help are unlimited. If money is difficult to come by, we can volunteer our time. If time is difficult to come by, we can donate our money.

Second Harvest Food Bank is always in need of volunteers and donations, as is the Salvation Army, which recently kicked off its Red Kettle drive that depends on volunteer bell ringers.

As you go about your shopping, remember those charities and other mainstays such as ARM and Hale Community Ministries, all of which depend on generous donations to accomplish the good work they do.

If you’re looking for something a little more personal, find a family in your neighborhood that needs a little help and cook a meal for them. Or perhaps a neighbor or church member needs help with paying bills or doing yard work or home repairs.

Whatever you have to give, whether your money, time or talents, this is the season.