Taking Root #20

What does Christmas mean to you?

By Gini Bramlett

For the Calapooia Food Alliance

Christmas is many things to many people. To some of us, it is a time to spend with family and friends, and simply reconnecting.

I come from a rather large family. Our busy and often separate lives don’t always allow much opportunity to see each other during the year. Christmas is the one time where everyone meets; giving us a chance to catch up, meet new significant others and ogle over the newest small additions.

To others, Christmas is a time to celebrate; the birth of Christ, the winter solstice, being together or even the start of the ski season. It’s also a time where responsibilities and worries can be relegated to the back burner; at least for a brief time.

Any way you look at it, most of us look forward to Christmas time; decorating the tree, shopping and wrapping gifts, and attending parties and open houses where food and drink is plentiful.

We are blessed and have much to be thankful for.

But, not all of us look forward to the holidays; a significant number of individuals and families struggle to make ends meet and put food on their tables, and it’s especially difficult at Christmas time.

Fortunately, most communities have charitable organizations that can provide a small modicum of help. But, they can’t do it alone, and depend on assistance from those of us who live and work in those communities.

There are many ways to help; donating canned foods to collection drops, pulling a name or two off giving trees distributed around town, contributing money at your local church or philanthropic organization, or simply looking around your neighborhood to see if anyone needs a leg up.

A friend of mine recently learned that an old acquaintance and her family were in dire straits. They were barely scraping by on her husband’s part time job. They had to move, but had almost nothing to set up housekeeping. My friend immediately put out a Facebook notice for help.

Soon, donations of furniture, kitchen appliances, cookware and the like were donated to help this family. A simple gesture that provided big returns.

Recently, my daughter-in-law saw a Craigslist posting saying a woman’s neighbor and her three boys couldn’t afford a Christmas tree this year, and asked for help. She had very little money for gifts and nothing left over for a tree.
 
My generous daughter-in-law not only supplied the grateful family with a fresh tree, but a box of ornaments, a card and all the cash she had in her wallet. The smiles on the children’s faces were all she needed.
 
People are in need all year ‘round, not just at Christmas. Local organizations are happy to accept whatever you can spare. Give them a call to see what is needed. After all, we’re all in this together.
 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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