We’ve all doubtless heard stories in the past few years of people who were living a comfortable life, but fell on hard times when the economy tanked. In fact, you may know someone in that boat.
One radio commercial I heard recently featured a man who said he had been an electrician and that he’d always been able to provide for his family.
The man had lost his job and he had just taken his sons to a food pantry to get something to eat.
Social services organizations like whatever food pantry that man visited, are created to help just that kind of person. The number of stories about how this person or that person became homeless or reliant on outside help are almost as numerous as the number of people in those dire straits.
But here’s one universal truth. There remains a tremendous capacity in our community to help those people who really find themselves in need.
It won’t help much if I go out and provide a meal for a homeless person or for someone else who’s down on their luck.
But it will help if I support a local charity who already has the ability to serve the needs of hundreds or thousands of people.
Our mother newspaper, The News & Observer, has created a list of charitable organizations that could benefit from your kindness. To see the full list, visit nando.com/holidaygiving. You’ll find a long list of charitable organizations throughout the region that are worthy of your support.
If there’s a time all year that you can find your way clear to part with a few dollars for a completely altruistic reason, Christmas time ought to be it.
A few weeks ago, I spent a few hours manning the Salvation Army’s bell-ringing station at the Wal-Mart in Knightdale.
There was a steady flow of people walking into and out of the store that day - the same day as the Knightdale Christmas parade. Just about everyone who visited the store that day stopped by the bucket either on the way in or as they were leaving.
Though the buckets are largely intended to collect coins, there were actually few coins being put in the bucket. Most people were giving dollars.
One lady rummaged through her purse, pulled out a $20 bill and a couple other bills and stuffed them into the bucket. But by far, the most gracious givers were children who pleaded with their parents to let them put some money in the bucket. There is just something sweet about the innocence of those children.
The Salvation Army has a long tradition of ringing the bell during the holidays. It’s about as recognizable as the Charlie Brown Christmas special. But the N&O’s list, which includes some of the charities this newspaper has featured in recent weeks, contains dozens more, some of which you may never had heard of.
I encourage you to browse the list and look for a charity that meets your own personal convictions. Whatever your own interests may be, chances are good those interests are represented on that list.
Give generously. And give with a glad heart.