Holiday Village

Dept 56 Williamsburg

No, not THAT Christmas village…  I’m just a fan of the notion that it takes community involvement to make the world go ’round.  So instead of getting overwhelmed by my own holiday preparation lists (cards, gifts, baking, groceries, parties…) I’m taking care of the most important parts first, thanks to the organization that keeps me grounded, the Junior League of Charlottesville.   I’ve done angel tree donations for many years, but now, I give through the League, to support our community partners, so I have no doubt about whether or not my gifts will get where they should go, whether or not they’ll make a difference. 

However this year, my deepest gratitude is stirred by our members.  As we move through the process of finding a new, more relevant community focus issue, we’re getting to know our non-profit neighbors better.  At our next meeting, we’re collecting food for the Emergency Food Bank.  On top of that, we’re donating our catering budget for this meeting to them too, even though that means our members who come straight from work won’t have substantial food available at the meeting, because we’re all very aware that too many in our community have very real food challenges.

Are hunger issues a problem in your community?  (The answer is yes… no matter where you live.)  Here, we have a significant working poor population, who don’t necessarily qualify for permanent assistance, but they still need help putting food on the table, sometimes just once or twice, sometimes on a more regular basis.  As we crawl out of our Thanksgiving food comas, take a moment to think about the under-served in your community, and consider making a donation of time, talent or funds.

Do you have a holiday giving tradition of the community sort?

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14 comments on “Holiday Village

  1. gmariesews says:

    UGH – I don’t, but I really should. In years past when I worked in large firms, we would adopt a family from the local school. It’s too much for just me and mine, but I could certainly give up a few dinners out and donate those funds to the local food bank. I love that idea. Thank you for sharing and making us aware.

    g

  2. Katherine says:

    Last Christmas when I asked our #3 granddaughter what she wanted for Christmas she surprised me! She had been in the hospital until the day before Thanksgiving and she said she felt so sorry for the kids that were still there when she left. So, for her gift she asked me to fill one of those giant gift bags with toys so she could distribute them to the kids who had to stay in the hospital for Christmas. WOW!! She blew me away. I filled the bag with toys, we got special permission for her to play Santa’s Elf for a day and we distributed the toys to the kids. She even stayed for hours to play with them. Who says 16 year-old girls only think about boys and makeup?

  3. Nichole says:

    I’m with gmarie… I don’t but really should. Wonderful post, wonderful cause.

  4. Sue says:

    We take a gift box of goodies to the shelter with treats, blankets and toys. This year our vet’s office is collecting food, collars blankets and toys for pets in families that are having a hard time. It’s a shame that when the family loses a job or has health problems, the pets are often discarded. Perhaps this will help keep some of them in their homes till times get better.

  5. kathy b says:

    Well, no surprise here. WE give to the animal shelter every holiday. In a monetary way not just our time. It is my thing…I love to give to them

  6. Marjie says:

    I think I have that train set house (as my kids call them). I don’t do community anything; it’s just not my cup of tea. Oh, I drop money in the red kettles, and make sure unwanted clothing goes to Goodwill or Salvation Army, as opposed to going to a for-profit group. And I support my libraries. I have to ration my time, however, and community service just isn’t my thing. To each her own, right? Even if it seems selfish.

  7. Nancy says:

    I go through my pantry in May and again in October and pull multiple items for food baskets my church prepares for needy families. Throughout the year, I look for bargains and purchase more than I need or could possibly use. One grocery store in town always has good items in its clearance bin – brownie mixes for $.50, soup mixes for $.75, etc. It warms my heart to know that these purchases will provide a family a nutritious meal, and because I shop year round, it doesn’t put a strain on my budget at any one time.

  8. Walden121 says:

    No, though I have a few things I donate to year round.

  9. Blond Duck says:

    People around here do tons of stuff! Esp. for military families.

  10. Ruth says:

    We do…every year for many years we have “adopted” a family for Christmas. Sometimes this is done through agencies in our town, sometimes through the hubs work, which runs a program yearly for this reason. There’s more, but that is my personal favorite.

  11. AlisonH says:

    My husband is a Red Cross volunteer and a ham, and our oldest and youngest have ham licenses, too. The oldest took Red Cross classes and got certified at 16 to accompany her dad on disaster-relief calls, which, in this state, includes individual house fires.

    There was one where someone had left a boom box on a stove burner and then turned the wrong one on. I know, I know, why would you… The RC gives a table, a chair and a day or two’s clothes for each person, and emergency housing for a short period of time.

    Turns out that in that two-bedroom apartment, aside from the ones around it that were damaged too, there were 26 people. Sleeping on the floor in shifts as there was room, and now everybody had lost what very little they had.

    That was when my daughter started to get, really get, just how lucky and how privileged her middle-class life is.

  12. Natalie says:

    Should do something with Carmen this year. I used to help when I taught with donating the local Christmas shop to clean donated toys.

  13. Mr. Puffy says:

    Great post Channon! We have long believed that we have not done sufficient to help others and have recently become involved in an organization helping orphans in Mexico where there is such a need as no government programs exist. I’ll confess It’s a bit scary going into these areas but sometimes you have to take a stand and do something for the good of others even if it means you leave your comfort zone. xoxoxo

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