For many people, the tree is decorated, the gifts are purchased and wrapped, the meals are planned, and it’s just a matter of waiting for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
For others, it’s not that easy. Some people aren’t sure where their meals or gifts will come from. But thankfully the area has many options for those who may not have the means to make the holiday merry and bright.
In Schoharie County, where the effects of Hurricane Irene are still intently felt, the need for donations are strong.
As of Monday, 210 families, including 455 children, had registered with the Schoharie County Community Wide Christmas Collaboration to get help this holiday season. But the group was still short by more than half of what was needed. Donations of toys and money are requested. For more information, call (518) 234-7521.
Elsewhere numerous local organizations have collected food to create holiday baskets so families may make their holiday meal at homes. And others will have an opportunity to have community meals or have meals delivered to them.
Other groups have had “giving trees” to collect for families that may not be able to put presents under the tree this year, and others have worked to make sure no child who needs a toy will go without one Christmas morning.
One of those groups, the Chenango County Toys for Tots, suffered a huge loss when about $8,000 worth of toys were destroyed by a Nov. 29 fire in a torage facility.
But the giving spirit of the community came through, replenishing the losses with monetary and toy donations. One of those groups that helped was the freshman class of Sidney Central School.
“I asked the kids if they wanted to do it and they were excited to help,” freshman class adviser Bonnie Schoonover said in a media release. “It’s awful for something like this to happen this time of year. I brought this to them and they wanted to give back.”
The class collected 50 toys and $50 in donations.
“I’m extremely proud that our students were able to give back in a time of need like this,” Sidney Superintendent Bill Christensen said in the release. “Though this was a terrible situation, we hope our students were able to help as much as they could during this holiday season.”
And that is the true spirit of the season. It is about giving, not receiving.
And it’s not too late. Make donations wherever you see they are needed. Volunteer your time to work at a community dinner, or be a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. Offer to bring an elderly neighbor to a Christmas Eve service.
We can all work to make the holiday season a happy one for others.