We are blessed this holiday season with endless opportunities to give to our fellow-man. The Christmas season is typically a time of generous sharing with those “less fortunate”, but this year you could toss a stone and hit a needy person! Seriously, you do not have to look far for a chance to brighten someone’s holiday.
Now that our state’s highest court deemed panhandling a protected activity under the 1st amendment, there is a beggar at every corner and off-ramp in the county. We donate to them through the local soup kitchen and despite the convenience of giving at a red light, I encourage you all to find an alternative to funding substance abuse, as well. The Salvation Army’s bell ringers are pretty easy to find, as are the charity jars in every gas station.
Congress has provided extra giving opportunities this year by cutting food assistance to over 47 million families in November, so we gave a bag of groceries to the food bank and a couple of cans of veggies at a local food drive to help offset that. I’m confident that this need would not be filled by 10,000 bags of groceries in December, but we can all give a bit. Most of us believe in kids eating no matter the circumstances. While we are thinking of children, we must donate at least one gift for the Angel Tree or Toys for Tots. With this year’s reductions in early education spending, may as well give an educational toy or game. You get the idea. Simply look at the day’s headlines, then apply your charity where needed. Know someone who is unemployed? Offer to help edit their resume or take them out to lunch. Mail someone an anonymous Christmas/gift card. Open the door at a store for someone. Check that little box on your utility bill to give $2 a month to someone struggling to stay warm this winter. Go through your closets and give away unworn coats, hats, sweaters, boots, and gloves. Simple gifts can make a difference. Have you ever felt uplifted by someone’s caring? Have you felt uplifted by giving?
This is the season of giving and the opportunities are endless.