Ron Knecht

Many joys come with Christmas and the holiday season. Good food, the company of family and friends, observing the joy of children opening presents, good music and the anticipation of the new year to name just a few.

A special aspect of the season for us is the spirit of giving. We use this time to provide more help than usual for both folks less fortunate and for charitable organizations that do good works in our communities. We know we are blessed to have the means to do so.

Unfortunately, at least one vital organization in our community that relies on this time of year for most of its funding is not receiving as much as in past years. That organization is the Salvation Army, which is assisted by organizations such as your local Kiwanis Clubs.

According to a recent Reno Gazette Journal article, their familiar Red Kettle campaign yield is down 13 percent compared to the income they received last season. They still have time to meet the goal, but only until December 23rd when this year’s campaign ends.

These donations to the local Salvation Army help support programs to assist people in need not only at Christmas, but throughout the year. They have very little overhead, and most of the dollar you give them goes to truly help people in need.

There’s an easy way for all of us to join the spirit of giving and help those less fortunate in our local community. We ask you to consider dropping a dollar in the Red Kettle the next time you are out at your local stores between now and Christmas. More if you are able, but at least a dollar.

And there are plenty of other ways to help.

A Veteran friend of ours is doing a private fundraiser at the last minute to help out a military family that would otherwise be going without a nice Christmas this year. This is neighbor helping neighbor, and stories like this warm our hearts. If you are interested in learning more, contact James at jwsmack@yahoo.com and he will put you in touch.

In addition to sending checks to nieces, nephew, other relatives and friends, you can also make donation in their names. It not only helps our community and deserving needy people; it also teaches the value of giving and helping your fellow man to the next generation.

And you can invite your senior citizen neighbors or others who may be alone during the holidays to have dinner with your family. That can be rewarding for you and that person. Even if the neighbor has the means, the company you can provide could make the difference for them between December 25th being just another day on the calendar and a lasting memory.

Another opportunity: Every Wells Fargo Bank location nationwide is collecting non-perishable food items for local food banks and the United Way until the end of the year. All you have to do is drop off your canned goods and other non-perishables at any local branch, and you can help your community and feel good about it at the same time.

This is also a great time of year to reach out to family and friends that you do not talk to very often. There may be needs close to you that you don’t realize, and it should feel good to talk to old friends and to relatives.

For people who have the means, giving should be part of the holiday season. For those who do not have the means, your giving could provide a gift to a child who would otherwise go without. It might feed a family. It might help a senior citizen or a veteran.

Besides helping them, you will feel good about it, and you will help create a stronger community.

In closing, we look forward via this column to continuing to share our thoughts with you in the coming new year. From Ron, his wife Kathy, their daughter Karyn, Kathy’s mother Christena, and from James and his wife Vicki, we say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa and a Happy New Year.

May this holiday and the next year bring you every happiness.

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