A lot of folks will be, in one way or another, involved in some sort of holiday event focused on reaching out to the less fortunate. Being helpful, sharing, caring.

Free holiday meals are served up here and there from now through Christmas. Gift give-aways are arranged. Supplies are delivered to homes.

The cynical amongst us point out that the do-gooders do good that once and the down-and-outs are down and out all through the year; that the do-gooders are just making themselves feel good; that the down-and-outs might appreciate a turkey dinner, but wonder where the caring is all the other days of the year.

Cynicism must serve some purpose, or why would it still exist?

Maybe it reminds us that we can do just a little better. 

But don’t let it get under your skin. If you have the opportunity and ability to be involved in helping other people in the community, even if it’s just once a year, take it. 

Our theory is that any time any of us can take a bit of time and resources to recognize others in the community, it helps us all out in the long haul. 

You take just one day a year to deliver dinners to shut-ins? You just once a year work on the serving line at a community dinner? You just once a year wrap gifts for poor kids you don’t know?

Good for you.

Good for them.

And good for us. 

Because you can read all about homelessness, poverty, unemployment, addiction, medical affliction, mental health issues, hunger, but being close to it – even that once a year – helps you understand and realize. 

So congratulations.

But the cynics might be a little right, too.

Our recognition of the problems and our help to those engulfed in them, especially the children, are needed year-round. Most of us won’t be as involved on a constant basis as we are when we help at a meal or a give-away. But many of us will find other ways – most likely by writing a check and supporting a good cause financially.

Here we are, at the end of a year. A good time to justify up our lives. A good time to catch up with some giving.

Again this year, we’re publishing a series of stories through the rest of the year, “Giving and Receiving.” 

We feature people who help and have been helped and are involved in some of our area’s frontline causes. Here’s hoping that one or two or more of them might inspire some additional local giving.

You should find ways within the stories to help those causes; you can search the Internet for more information. If you help out just once in a while, there’s nothing wrong with that. But maybe we can help just a tad more.

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