People are scurrying from store to store gathering presents and other goodies to share during the holiday season.
Fortunately, many Kansans also are taking time during busy holiday preparations to find ways to help others who are less fortunate.
Signs of holiday fundraising efforts are plentiful this time of year, to include the ever faithful Salvation Army bell ringers stationed throughout communities.
For the bell ringers who greet us at stores and other sites, the donations placed in their Red Kettles support a variety of ways to help others, from filling local food pantries to providing emergency housing, clothing and utilities to folks down on their luck. Money tossed into the kettles will help at-risk children, struggling families, vulnerable seniors, the disabled and so many others locally during their time of need.
Many more meaningful and effective fundraisers materialize during the holiday season, brought to us by churches, nonprofit organizations and other sources.
The fundraisers provide assistance for community members while also spreading holiday cheer in the form of festive auctions, entertainment and more. It literally takes armies of kindhearted people to pull off these activities, which undoubtedly give our friends and neighbors in need a boost when they need it most.
With so many families one paycheck away from disaster, this is no time to look away as children go hungry or go without in other ways. It’s also no time to blame anyone who may ask for help. Truly kindhearted people in our midst realize as much and keep those less fortunate in mind.
Tough times, after all, don't take a break during the holidays. As the more fortunate among us work on the makings of a festive holiday season, it's necessary to keep vulnerable children and adults in our thoughts and prayers — and do what we can to help, whether in contributing a few dollars or a few hours to a good cause.
The holiday season also offers an opportunity to offer a heartfelt pat on the back to those who provide services year-round. A token of appreciation goes a long way with delivery folks: mail and newspaper carriers, for example. They brave the elements to provide a service their customers expect, and a tip is a meaningful way to show appreciation.
Ditto for the wait staff at restaurants who strive to provide excellent customer service, and also depend heavily on tips in a state where employers may pay tipped employees as little as $2.13 an hour.
As easy as it may be to complain about issues of the day, we all need to remember that many Americans still enjoy abundance in many ways. We all should be able to count blessings, be it in family, friends, good health, happy memories or countless other reasons to be grateful.
And at a time so many people are thinking about gifts and gatherings involving their own families, it's heartwarming to know there still are strong examples of giving that make a difference in others’ lives. Such generosity, thankfully, shows no signs of going out of style in communities across Kansas.