Archive for Thursday, December 12, 2002

Give a little during the season of receiving

December 12, 2002

There is a brief lull now that football is over in Eudora.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and because it was a week late this year, most people are a little behind in Christmas preparations. People are just beginning to put up outside Christmas lights. Christmas cards have not begun to arrive, and shopping is even leisurely because of what? The economy, or do we blame it on the sun shining and the temperatures being mild?

A word that has been running through my mind these past few days is "charity," and how that applies to these times when our thoughts turn annually to those less fortunate. It seems my mailbox has been overly full of appeals this past year from the missions in far away lands to the streets of our cities where runaway kids, the homeless and the destitute reside.

Often these appeals are full of personalized return address stickers or greeting cards sent with the hope of a donation returned to their source. I always feel guilty about using these unless I do send a contribution, so they often find a home in the "I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-you stack" on my overloaded counter.

All of this adds to the dilemma of what to do about giving to what and to whom? In Eudora we have the Mayor's Christmas tree fund that provides food and gifts to families in need, the Jaycees Adopt-A-Family program, and the food pantry at St. Paul United Church of Christ that is the repository for food items in Eudora. These are three options for giving right here in our midst to help our own.

My thoughts also turn to those who give of their time so generously to help others and not just at Christmas. The names "Westy" (short for Eugene Westerhouse), Paul Oelschlaeger and Eldon Lovelett come immediately to mind. These gentlemen are part of the committee from the Methodist church who give of their time year round to help others with home repairs and a variety of other tasks. Laura Klotz is another who is giving of herself by supervising the food pantry at St. Paul. There are also those who volunteer to deliver Meals on Wheels and government food commodities to shut-ins. LaDonna Ballock, who also heads up St. Theresa's Society at Holy Family Catholic Church, has done this for several years.

Recently I heard a story on National Public Radio of a young couple who, feeling overwhelmed with requests for donations, tithed 10 percent of their salary until they had saved $5,000. At that time they established a foundation dedicated to supplying schools in disadvantaged areas with needed teaching materials. Such creativity and stewardship is remarkable.

How about you? How much do most of us really need? That extra "not-needed" $20 gift could provide a warm jacket and mittens to a child in our own community. Check out the above options for giving this Christmas. Better yet, make a commitment to giving time, talent or funds regularly throughout the year to a charity or charitable organization of your choice right here in Eudora. The need is ongoing and year round.

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