Year-Round Giving Spirit

With the recent crispness in the air and leaves littering South
Valley lawns and streets comes what is often thought of as the
season of giving.
With the recent crispness in the air and leaves littering South Valley lawns and streets comes what is often thought of as the season of giving. Throughout the holidays, many people donate food, clothing, time and money to the charities that serve the less fortunate members of our community.

And that’s a good thing. But it’s not good enough.

As the events of the past year have demonstrated, need is chronic. It knows no season and can be upon us suddenly and catastrophically. From the tsunami in Asia to the hurricanes of the Gulf Coast, from mudslides in Guatemala to earthquakes in Pakistan, we’ve seen Mother Nature’s ability to devastate with little or no warning.

While we’re more cognizant of the homeless during the winter holidays, it’s easy to forget that they’re sleeping on the streets, on park benches, or occasionally, in shelters, year-round.

That’s why, at the beginning of this season of giving, we’re urging South Valley residents to make giving a year-round activity.

Beginning with this Saturday’s Live Aid concert from 1 to 6pm at Christmas Hill Park to benefit the American Red Cross, and continuing throughout Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas, let’s remember those in need all year long. This year, make a New Year’s resolution to be in a giving spirit 365 days a year.

The organizations that respond to the victims of natural disasters need our help year round so that they can be ready at a moment’s notice to lend a hand.

This doesn’t just mean cash, although cash donations are always welcome by any nonprofit group. It can also mean giving of your time, which is the most intimate and most valuable gift.

Instead of the once-a-year trip to serve Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner at a soup kitchen, consider making a monthly or weekly commitment of your time.

Take a look at your unique set of skills, and find a group that could put them to good use. Perhaps someone with money-management skills could teach others how to balance a checkbook or make better financial decisions. Perhaps someone with a love of words could tutor illiterate adults. Perhaps someone with room in their heart and home could rescue a child from the foster-care system.

When you’re counting your blessings this Thanksgiving, remember the best way to show your gratitude is to give as much as you can, as often as you can, to those who have so many fewer blessings to count.

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