Giving needed all year long — not just at Christmas

Published 11:52 am Tuesday, December 14, 2021

This is the time of year when people want to help the less fortunate.
They remember their own family members and friends, of course. But it’s the compassion they feel and the gifts they provide for others — especially children they don’t know and will never see — that is really what holiday season giving is all about.
So please, have at it. There are myriad local organizations that welcome your generosity or volunteer efforts as Christmas approaches. Locally, there is the Salvation Army, ARM, Hale Community Ministry, the TLC Center, in addition to numerous food banks.
But it’s important to remember that need exists throughout the year. The donations local organizations receive as a part of typical holiday giving don’t cover all the food, clothing, and shelter that will be needed once all the Christmas gifts are given and the decorations are put away.
The Christmas season is a time for great joy and celebration. But for those without the financial means to celebrate, joy can be a very scarce commodity for adults and children alike.
Consider also that many feel the pull of charitable giving in the wake of natural disasters such as the tornadoes this past weekend which devastated much of western Kentucky, and places in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Illinois.
So many in that area lost their home — everything they had, even their jobs. Lives were also lost.
Although this year may have presented challenges to individuals, families, and the community, the majority have much to be thankful for. But, there are those who for various reasons find themselves in adverse situations, with little to salvage, and little to be thankful for.
Over the next few days individuals, groups and community organizations will host dinners for the less fortunate, or donate turkey, ham, and other food. The giving season continues through to Christmas or year’s end with most residents in the community adapting a spirit of kindness and brotherly love hardly seen during the rest of the year.
People who normally paid scant attention to the plight of the poor will find it possible to recognize those who have little, probably homeless or living in deplorable conditions. Some will reach out to children who have no toys to play with or nowhere to play.
It is gratifying that at least for four to five weeks at the close of each year there is this giving spirit. But, unfortunately, the poor revert to poverty, the hungry to hunger, and the sufferers to suffering when the giving season ends.
The hard truths are those folks hungry on Christmas Day are likely hungry every day. Those lonely on Christmas Day are likely alone on other days of the year. Families who receive help at Christmas could possibly use a helping hand at other times of the year.
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” accentuates the transformation of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge into the type of generous soul we identify with the holiday season. Once transformed, however, Dickens wrote that Scrooge practiced the Christmas spirit 365 days a year.
Generosity towards those less fortunate shouldn’t be committed just to the giving season. Such generosity should be part of a longer-term commitment. Something seems awry for widespread charity to be placed on hold for eleven months, then unwrapped and displayed with much publicity for just one month. It would be good as the community gives thanks this year, that it also commits to helping the poor for the long term.
The things that matter endure. We think of people who are less fortunate. We make more effort to donate. We try harder to see the other fellow’s point of view. We sing together. We offer “best of the season” and really mean it when greeting total strangers.
The good news is that the holiday spirit that warms your heart this time of year need not be limited to the holiday season. Need never takes time off.
Let the tradition endure.