Community efforts bring joy for the holidays and more

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Well, delivery is now in full swing after months of preparation. There are so many organizations here in East County sending packages of joy to families in need, they are too many to mention. The generosity that this region carries on this time of year astounds me. Many families are having a much merrier Christmas because of the time and effort made by all of the volunteer organizations, chambers, churches and philanthropists that make this all possible.

Well, delivery is now in full swing after months of preparation. There are so many organizations here in East County sending packages of joy to families in need, they are too many to mention. The generosity that this region carries on this time of year astounds me. Many families are having a much merrier Christmas because of the time and effort made by all of the volunteer organizations, chambers, churches and philanthropists that make this all possible.

It is awe-inspiring to know that every can of food and each toy given is going in the hands of people that need them. Hearts of people in our region founded the organizations that we have become very fond of and that trust in giving to your own neighborhood cannot be replaced.

Even though it is the holidays, things do not slow down. As you get older, it seems that this time moves faster. I watch my grandchildren and remember when a week before Christmas seemed like a lifetime. Many times, I wonder if I will ever feel that way again or if that is one of the precious gifts in life of being a child. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot imagine being a child waiting for something that is not going to happen. It is not their fault, they just do not understand the limited resources that those that raise them have, and there a plenty out there who cannot afford a special dinner to celebrate, much less toys, clothes and presents. My family has seen lean years, but even in those years, we all pulled together to make sure that there was something for the young ones to open.

That is the main reason that I choose to participate in toy and food drives, because I understand the struggle of not having. Although presents are not the real meaning of the season, and the important thing is for us all to be together, happy and healthy, it is difficult to deal with the fact that you just do not have it to give. And thanks to many good folk around here, there are thousands of families that do not have to feel that way this year.

So for every canned goods and toys given freely, you have sent delight to someone in need. It has no instant gratification, you are not there to watch a child’s eye and you will never know who the recipient of your gifts was. Therein lays the beauty of giving from the heart while expecting nothing in return. This cannot be measured by any means and when you really think about it, it is breathtaking.

For many of these organizations, this is not just a holiday event. Although it may be more, they serve people in our region that need this help every day. The people that are helped now are going to need a way to continue to feed their children, put clothes on their backs and a roof over their head. It seems like a never-ending battle until you get back on your feet again and we are still on the edge of an uncertain economy and more people need that help.

I am not much for resolutions, but I would like to think that in this upcoming year I can find the places that need the clothes I never wear, buy an extra can or two while shopping and drop it off at a food bank, or help a neighbor in need.

A big tradition in my family, after watching just about every version of “A Christmas Carol,” this time-old classic always reminds me to keep the spirit of Christmas all year round.

Ensuring that those in need receive help throughout the year is a goal, we as a community should work towards. There are so many organizations in our region that do just that and it is their examples that we should follow. Whether jumping aboard one of your favorite charities, or quietly donating items that make these families, especially children is what this season is all about. Why stop after the holidays? Without a hand up, or in many cases a hand out, the need does not stop beyond the holidays. It not only can make a difference today, but especially the children, will grown up knowing that it is community service and a love for your own community that keeps us together.

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