Let’s face it – for most of us things are a little tough right now. If someone in our household isn’t out of work, we may be wondering if one of us will be in the near future. That could mean not only the loss of income, but the loss of our health insurance (if we’re fortunate enough to have it in the first place) and maybe even our homes.
Everything is subdued these days, it seems, even when you’re in a crowd. It’s as if we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.
And for those on fixed incomes, the aspect of purchasing groceries, gas and heat has become more daunting than usual.
Even as we move forward into this year with a new president as well as some new faces in our local government, it seems hard to be hopeful when all we keep hearing is that things are going to get worse before they get better.
No one is more aware of the economic situation than the people who work daily to provide services for those in need.
And as those needs mount, so does the pressure on those facilities to help, since no one wants to turn anyone away empty-handed.
For example, for the local food bank, it means a dramatic rise in the number of families and individuals needing assistance of some kind — many food bank director Bobbie Rooker said she’s never seen before — many who never thought they’d be in such a position.
Churches in the area are working hard to provide food, clothing and a helping hand, not only to their members, but to anyone in the community that they can reach out to.
And over at the animal shelter, things there are also pretty bleak. Donations are down and intake is up, as more folks feel they can no longer care for their furry family members.
What can we do?
Well, I’m a firm believer that what goes around comes around.
No matter how bad things are, there is always some way to help out, even if we’re in a bad way ourselves.
If there’s no money, maybe just one extra can of food from the pantry can go to the food bank. Most of us have closets full of clothing with many items that we don’t wear – right now is an especially good time to go through the coat closet. Even if it isn’t fashionable, someone who is cold would sure appreciate the warmth a no longer wanted coat can bring.
Monetary donations are always needed – even just a dollar or two is better than giving nothing at all. I believe if someone gives you $5, you should give back at least $1 – pay it forward as it were.
Then there’s always the gift of time. Both the food bank and the animal shelter, for example, can use an extra set of hands and feet – to stock shelves, make deliveries, walk dogs and spend some time with some homeless pets. Foster homes are needed for both children and animals.
There is always a way to help and helping can often lessen our own burdens in remarkable ways. Not only does it take our minds off of our own troubles, but it can give us a sense of purpose and peace in a world where there sometimes seems to be neither.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.