Keep the holiday season’s spirit of giving alive
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.
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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!