Helping others makes community better for everyone

  • Saturday, November 26, 2016 12:02pm
  • Opinion

During Redoubt Elementary School’s recent “Canstruction” food drive event, school staff talked with students about how their effort would help those in their community — including, perhaps, some of their own classmates.

“We talked about (helping others),” school librarian Sharon Hale, who organized the event, told the Clarion.. “… There are kids in our school who, if they didn’t go to the food bank, wouldn’t eat. I think it registered with students.”

Redoubt’s food drive is one of many efforts undertaken by area schools, businesses, churches and other organizations. In addition to providing nonperishable items for the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank and other are food pantries, donations are collected for local families in need, and programs like Toys for Tots and Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child, to name just a few.

We encourage everyone who is able to share some of your time, talent or treasure with those less fortunate here on the Kenai Peninsula, throughout the state and across the world. We know the season of giving can sometimes feel like a chore, or at least something to which we don’t give a whole lot of thought, but if it helps, think of it like this: by helping others, we make the community better for everyone.

For example, all those food drives to ensure everyone in our community is fed mean fewer children coming to school with empty bellies. That leads to a more focused, productive classroom setting in which all students are better able to learn — and an entire school benefits.

If you are looking for a gift idea for a hard-to-shop-for relative you can always donate in their name, or give a gift card to an organization with the mission to support the less fortunate.

Perhaps you’d like to let someone decide which organization you will donate a part of your Permanent Fund Dividend to through the Pick. Click. Give program as a gift.

Maybe you’d care to call one of the local animal shelters, food banks, homeless shelters or other organizations to see what supplies they might need and donate a package either from yourself or for another.

In addition to material objects, communities are always in need of volunteer time and effort either formally or informally. Maybe that’s walking dogs at the shelter, shelving books at the library or helping out at the senior center. Perhaps you know a neighbor that could use help shoveling snow or doing work around the house.

Also don’t forget to tell the people you have in your life how much you appreciate them and just what they mean to you. You’d be surprised how often we forget to tell each other such simple things and how much they mean to the recipient.

And just because the holiday season will come to a close, the need in the community doesn’t go away. Please make a point — perhaps a New Year’s resolution? — to find ways to give back to the community the whole year ‘round.

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