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Vogt's Notes: We live among people who inspire faith, hope

We've said goodbye to 2018 and another Christmas season. Do you realize how lucky we are to live in communities filled with such caring, giving and generous people, especially during this time of year?

This is not an all-inclusive list, but here are just a few examples that spring to the top of my head that show the goodness of people who inspire faith and hope among us.

James Watkins, owner of Faith Boost Custom Crafters on Front Street in Pequot Lakes, spearheaded an effort to help a family in need in Pequot Lakes. Called the Business Blessing, Watkins visited businesses soliciting donations for the local family. He said he never realized there were more than 60 businesses in Pequot Lakes.

Through those efforts, the family received goods, services and monetary donations at an event Friday, Dec. 21, at the Cole Memorial Building in Pequot Lakes to give them an unforgettable Christmas and a financial cushion to start 2019.

Christmas for Kids has been helping children and their families for many years. This year's effort gave 180 children in need a Christmas to remember. We all owe many thanks to the many volunteers who are part of this organization. From coordinating and gathering applications from families to shopping for toys, clothes and supplies to wrapping all the gifts to delivering them - it's no small undertaking.

Thanks also to all the businesses, individuals and organizations who contribute to this great cause.

Homeless and Wounded Warriors Minnesota and the Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion joined forces to make this Christmas a merry one for a family by donating a car and gifts. Again, we owe great thanks to all involved in this effort.

We can't forget the food shelves throughout our local communities, the Pine River-Backus Family Center and our area churches who work so hard to help others. The Radiothon to End Child Abuse raises thousands to help those in need.

Staff at the Echo Journal and Brainerd Dispatch visited a few stores to buy groceries for random people. Travis Grimler and I bought about $500 worth of groceries for different shoppers at Pine River Family Market just to give them some holiday cheer.

Many other organizations and businesses rallied for holiday giving, such as Spirits of Nisswa municipal liquor store, which raised more than $800 for the Minnesota Viking Food Truck Foundation thanks to customer donations, and $1,500 for the Sharing bread Soup Kitchen in Brainerd thanks to customer donations, Bernick's and Finnegans Brewery.

I know this list just scratches the surface. Thanks to all who reached out a helping hand this holiday season. I'm proud to live amongst such generous people.