Keep the hol­i­day sea­son’s spirit of giv­ing alive

North Penn Life - - Opinion -

In Charles Dick­ens’ time­less clas­sic “A Christ­mas Carol,” two busi­ness­men so­licit the miser Ebenezer Scrooge for do­na­tions. They chose Christ­mas­time for their ef­forts, they tell him, be­cause it is a time “when want is keenly felt, and abun­dance re­joices.”

In this day and age, the ex­cesses of Christ­mas — in­deed the very sea­son it­self — stretch from Nov. 1 un­til Jan. 2. In this day and age, the ab­sence of com­fort among the havenots is more sharply in fo­cus and more painful be­cause of the con­trast with con­spic­u­ous con­sump­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­sus Bureau, the poverty rate has FOLPEHG IRU IRUU RUW RI WKH SDVW fiVH YHDUV. ,W LV NRW 22 SHUFHNW KLJKHU WKDN LW WDV fiVH YHDUV DJR.

How can it be in 21st cen­tury Amer­ica that chil­dren still go to bed hun­gry?

There are agen­cies and an­gels among us who work long and hard to pro­vide in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies who have fallen on hard times — the “poor” of Dick­ens’ day — with the ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties and a lit­tle ex­tra to cheer the sea­son. Some of them work year-round.

The Sal­va­tion Army vol­un­teers, ring­ing their bells out­side the malls, stand in all kinds of weather to col­lect money for those less for­tu­nate this time of year. As we hurry to and fro in the race to “get it all done” for the hol­i­days, a brief stop to toss in a dol­lar or more into the bucket will go to help make some­one’s hol­i­day a lit­tle bit brighter and may also pro­vide the giver the lift needed to face the crowded shops.

Su­per­mar­kets and Wawa con­ve­nience stores have coupons at the check­outs you can pur­chase to add $1, $3 or $5 to your gro­cery bill. The money goes to the Philabun­dance, the largest food bank and hunger re­lief or­ga­ni­za­tion in the Delaware Val­ley re­gion.

Last year Philabun­dance dis­trib­uted 19 mil­lion pounds of food within its net­work, plus an ad­di­tional 2 mil­lion pounds to neigh­bor­ing food banks.

At the same time, other or­ga­ni­za­tions are pre­par­ing to col­lect new toys in the Toys for Tots pro­gram. Church and syn­a­gogue con­gre­ga­tions will col­lect food, cloth­ing and gifts.

Peo­ple, es­pe­cially chil­dren, can­not not live by bread alone. Food may nour­ish the body, but a toy at Christ­mas tells chil­dren some­one cares about them, that they’re not so dif­fer­ent from ev­ery­one else.

There are Toys For Tots drop boxes at many real es­tate RI­fiFHV.

Don’t for­get the men and women serv­ing in the mil­i­tary far from home.

The op­por­tu­ni­ties to give seem to be lim­it­less and al­most ef­fort­less.

We gave thanks last month for what we have. Imag­ine some­one else Christ­mas morn­ing, giv­ing thanks for what we gave!

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