Community and giving back are consistent themes in our publication. Time and again and without fail, our community steps up to care for its own, to problem solve, to get things done. Hurricane Matthew is just the latest example of how we take care of each other when things get hard. Unfortunately, it is not enough to say “Well done,” and move along because there will always be someone in need, someone who, despite their best effort, can’t make ends meet, can’t provide for their family, can’t take care of themselves.
This time of year Social media is usually filled with posts about how thankful, lucky and blessed people are. And that is a wonderful thing. We should all count our blessings and be mindful of how much we have and how fortunate we are. And we should not take these things for granted. There are still people in this community and all across this country who are not so fortunate. And organizations this time of year often struggle to meet the needs of those they serve.
If you are able and it is in your heart, consider giving back this holiday season. It doesn’t take much to change someone’s life. While the holidays are supposed to be a happy time of year, many struggle mightily with things like loneliness and depression during November and December. Take a few moments, call or check in on a friend/acquaintance/office mate/neighbor and let them know you are thinking about them. Or take them to lunch or for coffee or just spend a few minutes letting them know you care.
If time is something you just don’t have or you are unable to “sponsor” someone this season, consider supporting one of the many organizations that are dedicated to helping this community. Drop some money in one of the red Salvation Army kettles. They feed the homeless, while providing a job for the bell ringers, typically lower income.
Write a check to one of the many nonprofits in the area. Places like the Care Clinic and Better Health offer health-related services to the community at little or no cost.
Or volunteer. Not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. Operation Inasmuch, Catholic Charities, the Dream Center, the Child Advocacy Center, the Guardian ad litem program and other organizations are always looking for help.
Drop off some nonperishable food items like canned goods, dried beans, soup mixes or the like at one of the food banks. Second Harvest Food Bank is always accepting donations, but there are other organizations that have food pantries, too. Donate toiletries or hygiene items at one of the many local shelters. Things like a package of socks, a hat and a scarf or a gently used coat or feminine hygiene products mean everything when you need them and don’t have them.
Donate a toy at one of the many toy drop offs. Toys for Tots is just one way. Support a local toy run that many local motorcycle clubs sponsor this time of year - we have some listed in our Free Wheelin’ section. Many organizations have Angel trees that make it easy to give a child a Merry Christmas. Some organizations that support children in our community are the Girls and Boys Club, Fayetteville Urban Ministry, Great Oaks Foundation and Falcon Children’s Home.
Giving back during this stressful time of year doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money and it can change someone’s life. Including yours.
Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.