The Valdosta Daily Times
The beauty and misunderstanding of holiday volunteerism are both apparent in the overheard comment of a child.
Of recent Thanksgiving efforts to feed those in need, the child said, he did not want to miss helping because if he missed it now, he wouldn’t be able to help again until next year.
Too often, that’s the view many folks take this time of year. People and organizations scramble to ensure people have Thanksgiving meals, Christmas food and holiday toys, while the other 11 months of the year, charitable organizations often search for volunteers and contributions.
Make no mistakes. South Georgia is a giving region. Its generosity was apparent last week as numerous individuals and organizations gave of their time, energies, dollars and talents to ensure others had a joyous Thanksgiving. Some even sacrificed their own family time to spend Thanksgiving helping others.
Our community is blessed by this spirit. If past experience holds true, and there’s no evidence that it will not, this spirit of generosity will continue and deepen as we enter the Christmas and holiday season.
Already, The Times’ Empty Stocking Fund is raising money to ensure approximately 1,200 Valdosta and Lowndes County children will find toys in their stockings and under the tree come Christmas morning. Meanwhile, numerous other organizations are working toward similar goals to bring toys to children, coats to the cold, food to the hungry.
But many of these needs do not start with Thanksgiving and end on Christmas.
Nor should we as a community see this month as the only opportunity to volunteer for the good of others.
Various organizations offer opportunities to volunteer and contribute each month. The aforementioned child has no need to worry if he misses volunteering at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Good deeds and goodwill toward others are in high demand each day of the year.
At the end of his classic “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens writes of how Ebenezer Scrooge has been transformed from a miser into a man who carries Christmas in his heart each and every day. Had Dickens written a sequel revealing the reformed Scrooge’s generosity in April or July or September then maybe more people would realize that we all have the potential to be as good as we are at Thanksgiving and Christmas no matter the day or date.