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From the Left Hand Corner: Thanks for giving

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I share the thanks expressed by other writers at this time of year. Thanksgiving, like our recently expressed appreciation of veterans, ought to be year-around for all of us. We, in this lakes area, have so much to be thankful for.

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To begin with, we live in a society where we can speak out and express personal political belief and opinion with only a little fear of sanction. That is not true for many in this world. Since the U.S.A. began, most of us, whites at least, don’t lose their lives and property just for political expression, even when political losers.

I join other opinion and letter writers as we express thanks for the abundance we have of the basics – food, clothing and shelter. Most of us have that in such abundance that we take it all for granted and don’t even know what it is to be without.

In our present society we can’t really comprehend what it is like to be really hungry or cold without knowing when or where our next food or shelter may come from. Most of us can’t remember when all people, men, women and children, spent most of their waking hours in hard and dangerous physical work just to secure enough to eat, and enough clothing and shelter to be covered and warm. Most of us have had that existent luxury all of our lives, while much of the world does not.

Most of us have all that we need, and more, of the basics to sustain our ever longer lives. And for that we can and should be ever thankful.

In addition most, including a lot of us old-timers, are living in reasonably good health. Good health and physical comfort are huge in our overall enjoyment of life and sense of well-being, and those of us presently free of pain and restriction should be hugely thankful for every day and hour that such exists. We should be ever thankful for the good health, mental and physical, that we and our loved ones are blessed with and increasingly compassionate and helpful to those less fortunate.

That brings or leads to a second and major purpose of this column, which is to thank you in advance for whatever you can do, might do, will do to give to others right now, today, and every tomorrow when it becomes today. So thank you in advance for whatever you are doing, and whatever you come up with, whatever you decide to reach out to and provide for those among us who are less fortunate and in need.

Some of us may not have much in the way of dollars or material gifts to share. But, we all have time, and in innumerable situations that may be the even greater gift to give. So let’s all be more giving of our time – in positive ways.

It seems shameful that our rich country has hunger in our own prosperous community, but we do. There is no fault on the part of the hungry child, or hungry elder deciding between food and rent or prescription, or those impaired or otherwise unable to work.

When some of us worked 30-plus years ago to set up food shelves, and then area food banks, and even harvest system networks, we thought we were dealing with an emergency and temporary need. Unfortunately, that proved to be false hope. In our own area, there is still an even increasing need and demand for our Lakes Area Food Shelf. So let us give a little more to keep it stocked, not just for the holidays, but into the coming year.

None of us can singly solve or resolve homelessness as it exists. However, we can donate or volunteer at least temporary shelter in any number of ways. It might be taking in a needy relative or friend or acquaintance (or kid). It might be donating or volunteering at a local teen shelter or domestic abuse facility. It might be that home visiting that keeps that elder or disabled person in a more affordable and familiar situation rather than facing the prohibitive cost of facility care.

Too many kids in our area are showing up at school (or avoiding school) with inadequate clothing to be warm in winter or appropriately and sufficiently attired in all months. We can help ease that feeling of inadequacy and discomfort. Surprisingly, there are those that want jobs, but in some cases don’t acquire them because they don’t even have suitable clothing to wear to obtain an application, or go to interview, or otherwise present themselves for jobs they might secure.

It is always good when we contribute to appeals for disaster victims, world and nationwide as the Philippines now, and Haiti and Japan whose victims suffered through the tsunami, or victims of New Orleans, Hurricanes Andrew and Sandy and countless others.

But there also innumerable opportunities for us to be not just thankful for all that has been given to us but equally or increasing showing that thankfulness in sharing what we have with the less fortunate all around us.

So thank you in advance for your donation to the mitten trees or quilt making at church; or your donations to Coats for Kids, Christmas for Kids, Toys for Tots, Christmas Baskets, or any of dozens of other such worthy projects. Thank you in advance for hours spent or dollar contribution for tomorrow in preparing and serving and delivering Thanksgiving meals to those who would not otherwise have one.

So from just one old grizzled and grateful recipient of all sorts of gifts from this community, let me thank you in advance for every dollar and every hour that you expend in enhancing the well-being of those in need and hurting here among us. Thank you for all that you do. May it ever increase and collectively so.

May we become that “kinder and gentler” society that the first George envisioned. We are our brother’s/sister’s keeper.

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