As published in the Record Journal – Sunday November 22, 2009
As mid-November passes by, one really gets the feeling of the season around town. Residents are raking up their leaves and brown-bagging them for public works to pick up (keep in mind town ordinance #380 – don’t rake leaves into the gutters); businesses start changing out their displays for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays while the town starts to put out holiday decorations, as do many citizens.
The other thing that I notice more at this time of the year is the amount of help community and non-profit groups seem to need. I know they have some level of need all year round, but it just seems more predominate now. I am not sure if it’s because the need is greater or, for some reason, I become more aware of it – regardless, it appears more vividly on my radar screen.
Whether it’s helping out personally by donating time selling tickets for the Wallingford Emergency Shelter’s fundraiser or donating gently used items or money to Master’s Manna, there are people that have needs – and some of those needs are being met by those that have the ability and means to help.
Given the recent downturn in the economy, there are people that generally never require help suddenly finding themselves in need. When you compound that with fewer people being in a position to help in the first place, you see a sudden and tremendous drag on the resources and available assistance.
I have never felt it was the responsibility of our government, at any level, to help everyone in need in all instances. Perhaps they should provide some framework and some initial monetary assistance to help an effort get off the ground, but I have always been of the mindset that it should be people helping people.
Sometimes formal government social efforts are a necessary evil but if people come to expect them that is where the whole entitlement issue comes from and to be quite blunt there’s already too much of that line of thinking.
Thus, I go back to people and ask: "What want can you go without today in order to help someone with something they need?"
This comment is on my profile at WishUponaHero.com and at Donorschoose.org. I keep it there to challenge myself when I go to sites to find a wish or a classroom to help and find a way to do it. I know, too, that it has inspired others to help, as well – I have gotten many emails which attest to this fact.
I’ve put it here in "From Wallingford," and I am hoping for the same outcome; that it might compel someone that gives infrequently to perhaps consider trying to give up a cup of coffee a day for one month and redirect those extra funds to a worthy local cause of their choosing. At the same time, if it made someone who never really helped out before find the desire suddenly to do so, it would be equally significant.
There are many people in Wallingford that already give much of themselves all year long. I am challenging them to stretch a little farther this year. There are some that do not help; I appreciate their right not to do so, but I ask them to reconsider if they have the means.
Then there are those in need. Take what you need and give back what you can. Be creative; if you’ve found a place to rest your head, offer to sweep up before you leave. It’s easy to list the reasons and excuses why you can’t help or why your little bit won’t really matter.
Almost everyone has the capacity to help in some way, and deeds are more powerful than you think.