Bless others this season

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When times are tough, it's amazing to see the little miracles that occur daily as citizens come together to make sure the needs of their friends and neighbors are met. So many examples of this attitude of giving have been brought to my attention in recent weeks, and its heartwarming to know we live in a community where people are willing to come to the aid of others with very little prompting.

Take for example, the Cassville Schools' Back Pack Program. Created last school by Cassville Primary School counselor Kristie Preddy, the program has grown tremendously and currently there are about 20 back packs filled with food sent home with students each weekend. Kristie says she never launched any major fundraising campaigns, but instead, the needs of the program have been met through "word of mouth" giving. A group of dedicated moms volunteer their time each week to provide the manpower needed to keep the program going, and the donations of food and money keep coming in.

Kristie can share incredible stories of donations being made just when the program needed them most. When talking about support for the program, Kristie's eyes fill with tears as she speaks of a community whose generosity and concern for young people knows no limits.

This over-the-top giving can also be witnessed each year through Cassville's Share Your Christmas effort. Hundreds of children and their families are served through this program year after year and thousands of dollars and thousands of toys are donated by community members to keep the program going and growing.

Last year, I had the joy of helping sort through toys and get them ready to distribute to the families. I was overwhelmed and amazed by the sheer number of toys donated by local residents, and as a result of this generosity, we were able to fulfill the wish lists of so many precious children who would otherwise be facing a rather bleak Christmas.

This season, we hope the community will continue to respond to those less fortunate, especially when those numbers are probably growing in the current economy. Toys are still being collected for Share Your Christmas, and monetary donations are always welcome. All contributions can be dropped off at the Barry County Neighborhood Center on Highway 248 in Cassville.

Christmas is a season of giving, and we hope people living in the Barry County area will find it in their hearts to share their blessings with others if at all possible. Sometimes focusing on the needs of others helps us look beyond our own troubles and we are blessed in the process of reaching out to offer a hand up to others.