Last week the headline on the Sierra Star extolled the $22,000 that the Boys & Girls Club Tree Auction had raised. That fact alone tells what a great community this is. I estimate the Mountain Area raises about $5 million per year for our charities and the number of hours donated by volunteers, even at a rate of $10 an hour, would equal millions more. This really is a caring community.
At this time of year, many emotions come into play and some realities are faced as well.
Those who are fortunate look at ways to make other people and their lives happier and easier. Those who are struggling sit back and wonder about the expense of a tree, a few gifts, needed items of clothing for the kids, and food for the table. The rent is due, the car needs repairs, and the water heater goes out. Most of us have been through the tough times and we gained strength from dealing with them. Let’s not forget that most who went through those tough stretches also had an assist along the way from a family member or friend.
I tell my students they will know they are doing okay as an adult when they don’t have to hope for free dinner invitations the last week of every month and payday arrives. I know what it is like to have to look for change to buy milk or go to bakery outlets for the day-old stuff. It’s hard out there, and I was grateful when I was invited for a meal and offered the leftovers.
We need to remember the working poor folks who are struggling in our area. Last week while I was bell ringing at Von’s for Manna House, a lady came by and looked into her purse and told me, “I haven’t any money for you.” That is common as many of us spend via credit cards or checks. This lady was different. She walked over to an ATM, pulled $20 out of the machine, and then walked over to me and put the $20 into the chimney and told me, “Well that’s done. Merry Christmas.” Her actions sure made me smile.
At this time we need to fill the coffers of Manna House but we also need to send checks to Toys for Tots, because they still have needs as there are gaps where the toy doesn’t match the kids. We need to give to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, because while they got a shot in the arm from the tree auction they have a huge budget because they offer a huge program to the kids who would otherwise hang around in town and cause trouble. Local schools need dollars for supplies and the Children’s Museum must maintain the location each week for little ones to enjoy. I remind you of these charities because you can feel better at this time of year, and in April you will feel better because the donations made this year will be tax deductible.
Many of us get to a point where we just don’t need more stuff. We become harder to buy for because we already own whatever it is they want to buy for us or we are so technologically challenged that we can’t figure out how to use the gadget they want us to have. I still want someone to explain why I needed a DVD player that held five or six discs at one time. In my age I couldn’t possibly sit through five or six movies without having to get up for other reasons, and I could then change the disc. However; I had a five-disc player!
My desire is to get notified by charities important to me that a gift was donated to that charity in my name. Those charities want help and I don’t need stuff. Tell your families what your charity of choice is and help raise the dollars for that group.
At the tree auction they paid tribute to Archie Macaulay who had helped create the Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club. When he went home to be with the Lord he left behind a legacy of giving and a part of that legacy are his son, grandson, and daughter-in-law. Grandson Bobby serves as President of the B&G Club and helps those kids who need that program. Archie would have two emotions about that; he would be delighted to see that service continue and would smile, and he would also have expected that service to continue, with his approval.
As Christmas approaches, and you are looking for that perfect gift to send, please remember with that which we do for the least of us, we do it unto the Lord.
So volunteer, drop off food at Manna House, donate the spare change, give a tot a toy, or send a check. Don’t do the least you can do. Do more.