As the song goes:
Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Fa la la la la, la la la la
‘Tis the season to be jolly…
During this time of year, radios blare Christmas carols like this one all over the town, chanting sparkling tales and holiday well wishes. They sing about the kinds of things many of us take for granted: the warmth of a fireplace, turkey on the table Christmas Eve, and presents under the tree. More people than we’d like to believe spend the holidays without any of these things.
But while it is Christmastime, right now is also considered the Season of Giving. Giving to those who need it most, just as God gave the world His son – Christmas’s namesake – in Christian belief. There are many ways to give, and thus many ways to acknowledge the blessings you have which others don’t.
Toys for Tots is a national non-profit ran by the Marine Corps Reserve that collects donated toys and distributes them to kids who don’t always have something under the tree Christmas morning. In Tulare alone, there are a numerous amount of places you can drive by and donate a toy, including the AG Center, the Chamber of Commerce, at Starbucks, Tractor Supply, and a dozen other places! And if you’re worried about where they’ll go, toys collected locally are also distributed locally, as requests for toys are processed through participating elementary schools in the area.
Another way to help is through something we all know. Whenever you walk into a store during the holidays, there is always a Salvation Army volunteer ringing a bell. Next to them are always a red kettle, there to collect spare change and other considerate financial donations. These volunteers and kettles work towards what the Salvation Army calls their “Christmas Assistance”. Money collected is used to provide Christmas dinners, articles of clothing, and toys for struggling families. It also helps volunteers give gifts to those alone in hospitals or nursing homes. And just like the Toys for Tots organization, the Salvation Army pledges that it’s “holiday assistance programs are administered locally.” So drop what you can the next time you see a red kettle next a ringing bell!
Many churches and schools also organize donation events (in the last month, Tulare Western has sponsored two such events: a canned food drive and the current “Operation
Warmth” which provides heavy clothing, beanies, gloves, and scarves to the homeless across the City of Tulare.) during the Christmas season as well, and if you find you can’t help out these holidays, remember that the rest of the year holds opportunity to give as well at places like Rescued Treasures and Goodwill.
So enjoy your Christmas, and help others to do so too.
– Chloe Cushing