Editorial: Giving a holiday hand to the less fortunate

December 22, 2013 

The few hours left between now and Christmas morning likely will not be joy-filled for the parents among us whose angst over a paucity of presents is surpassed only by the hum of their children’s anticipation. ... Or for our elderly neighbors shut off from the world who expect Wednesday to bring nothing more than any other day, no friendly faces or warm hugs. ... Or for the increasingly large number of Triangle families coming to the end of a long month with empty cupboards and growling stomachs and little hope for much of a holiday meal.

But for those of us with piles of presents wrapped and waiting under perfectly decorated trees, for those with jobs and incomes and homes, for those with so much food the pantry shelves groan, there is still time to share our blessings.

Listed on The N&O’s Guide to Giving at nando.com/holidaygiving are more than 70 local charities seeking help this holiday season.

No need to match the amazing generosity of the anonymous donor who wrote a $50,000 check last week to buy clothes for the 1,600 unchosen children participating in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program in Wake County.

So many charities need money or gifts for children: the Women’s Center of Wake County, Interact women’s shelter, the Methodist Home for Children, Friends of Wake County Guardian ad Litem.

But there are multiple other opportunities to match passions with pocketbooks.

Upset about the state’s failure to expand Medicaid to many low-income North Carolinians? Maybe you could help those left in the lurch by sending a gift to Alliance Medical Ministry, a medical clinic for low-income, working uninsured adults of Wake County. The ministry needs, among other things, white printer paper, postage stamps or over-the-counter medicines like Prilosec or Tylenol cold and sinus.

Irritated with national leaders who cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits? In North Carolina, almost 30 percent of our children are in families that suffer bouts of food insecurity. The Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina is holding an online Holiday Meals Drive, hoping to raise $350,000 before the end of the year to provide food and groceries to those struggling families.

Tired of the cycle of poverty that can seem intractable as long as babies keep having babies? Consider a gift to the Education for Successful Parenting nonprofit, which gives teens who have yet to conceive children the information and skills they need to postpone parenthood.

Think music has the power to transform young lives? The Community Music School in Raleigh needs money for student performance clothing and dress shoes and general school supplies.

Worried about the high school dropout rate? Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle needs books and jump ropes as it tries to offer mentors to children who need good role models.

Prefer to nurture the environment? Friends of the Mountain-to-Sea Trail is asking for money to build and maintain the trail and to provide information about how to hike it.

The needs in our community are many. The hours until Christmas are few. But there’s time enough for us to make those variables amount to an abundant quotient of kindness.

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