Helping out the community after the holidays

Our community would be so much better off if people could take pressure off of ‘the Christmas season’

Our community would be so much better off if people could take pressure off of ‘the Christmas season’ and put more emphasis on ‘the daily condition of our community.’

Around Nov. 1st, people seem to really get into the giving spirit and are eager to donate time, resources and effort into their community. Why is it that after Dec. 25th and the holiday season in general much of these efforts seem to fade?

This issue has become very apparent to me over the last couple of months as I interviewed food banks, numerous non-profit groups, homelessness-assistance initiatives and other community service oriented groups.

The common theme of these interviews has been similar to, “Thank you for your generosity, and please don’t forget about us for the next 11 months.”

I do not have any intention of putting down anyone who volunteers or gives what they can during the holiday season, but I aim to emphasize the importance of continuing these acts year-round.

The fact is that the ‘giving feeling’ that comes with Christmas should resonate all year round.

All year there are parents who abstain from food in order to give their kids enough. There are people who live on the streets year-round, and summer can be just as dangerous as winter.

A great example of this imbalance in support is that most food banks get flooded by volunteers in December that they have to turn some away.

Come March, they are back into the scramble for donations and volunteers, with no backups or excess of hands.

Homeless shelters are flooded with clothing donations in the winter but in July and August, they have just as a great a need. They simply shift from combating frostbite to combating dehydration and heatstroke.

It can be easy to find a group or organization that is helping the community during the Christmas season, but these issues don’t simply go away. Food banks, homeless shelters, women’s outreach groups, parent supports – all of these services are year-round needs that are often not being fulfilled to the levels that they need to be.

In Central Alberta, there are literally hundreds of non-profit organizations that are desperate for help all year. The influx in donations and generosity that comes with the ‘Christmas season’ certainly helps, but it can only go so far.

The sheer availability of the number of non-profit organizations in Central Alberta tells me that people want to help. And giving all year doesn’t have to be on a grand scale – it can be as simple as saving the money from a fancy coffee a few times a week and buying an extra box of granola bars to donate on the next shopping trip.

It can be rounding up your family’s old summer clothes and donating them at a local thrift store or homeless shelter.

It can be purchasing a few extra cans of soup or an extra jar of peanut butter and leaving it in a food bank box.

If you find a cause close to your heart that you notice tends to pop up only mainly in the weeks surrounding Christmas, why not ask how you can continue that work later in the year? For example, many Christmas Bureau groups are headed by other organizations that run initiatives all year.

We live in a province of excess and wealth, but also of many instances of poverty. Every little bit helps. I just think it would be prudent to stretch out the giving a little so that there is enough to go around all year long.

It’s a great feeling to give, and wouldn’t it be nice to feel that way all the time?

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

Most Read