With Christmas behind us, the leftovers have probably dwindled away to nothing. The glittering packages have been discarded. We hope the warm coats and sweaters and playful toys will provide good use throughout the rest of the year.
But while we congratulate ourselves as individuals and communities for the charitable work done this year, we should also challenge each other as well.
Need takes no holidays. Those who were hungry before Christmas will soon be hungry again. Those who struggled to stay warm will soon feel winter’s bite sneaking around the edges of the world they live in every day. Those who fight loneliness will soon find themselves making their way through the world with few encouraging words.
We don’t write this to criticize a warm, giving, generous community that improved the lives of others this holiday season. We don’t make light of those efforts at all. In fact, we applaud the actions, and the motivation from the heart that led to those actions.
We are simply asking that we not forget. Let’s remember that the tough economy that has resulted in so many facing either unemployment or underemployment still persists. And those who couldn’t afford Christmas might now be wondering how to pay the next utility bill.
Let’s not forget the children who, for whatever reason, find themselves hungry when the holiday meal is over. For many of them, their best meal of the day is school lunches, and they don’t start back up for another week or so. Hunger doesn’t take a holiday.
There are many agencies, both governmental and private, at work in our communities. All across the county there are good people working to solve those problems. Let’s find those people. Let’s help the Argo Community Food Bank, the Leeds Outreach, Refuge Ministries, the Children’s Place and Good Shepherd’s in Moody. Let’s call the DHR offices and find out where the need is and see if, in some small way, we can help.
The Christmas season is, at its core, a celebration of one special life that changed the world. That life taught us to look outside ourselves and care for our neighbors. Thousands of us have followed that teaching in the past few weeks as we have reached out to make the season brighter for those in need.
Let’s not forget the lesson now. And let’s not forget those who still have unmet needs.