This has been a good Christmas season for me, and I’d like to tell you why – I have been blessed to witness some of the goodness and kindness of our community and it has helped to renew my faith in human nature.
Times are hard for most of us, but as the saying goes, there’s always someone worse off and it has been a wonderful thing to go to places like the food bank and animal shelter and see that many folks really do care.
The food bank is striving to reach more and more people now that the cold and the damp has set in – and the needs will likely continue to escalate as we head into 2010. But so far, the donations have continued to come in and those with a need can still find a helping hand there.
And it’s great that though the need is up, so are the donations. What a tribute to human nature, that we can find it in our hearts to give, even when it may not come as easily as it has in the past.
And at the Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter, a place that I hold closely in my heart, donations have picked up also. People who can afford to do nothing but donate a roll of paper towels or some Clorox are doing that, and those that can do more, are doing more. It doesn’t matter that you can’t do much, as long as you do something.
An anonymous donor has stepped up to offer a $10,000 donation to the shelter, if the community and/or local governments will also step up to match their generous offer. In response to this challenge, the Democratic Party of Madison County presented a $500 check to the animal shelter last week, saying in part that they want to encourage other civic and government groups to donate as well.
Please find it in your hearts to give a donation to this valuable and necessary asset to our county. Many of you may not know, or remember, but the shelter is not a “county-run” facility. It is operated by a non-profit humane society that is largely dependent on donations to keep the doors open. Less than a third of the annual operating expenses come from Madison and Oglethorpe counties.
We, as a society, cannot afford to forget “the least” of us – particularly in hard times. And the effort doesn’t stop at places like the food bank and animal shelter. There are many elderly and homebound in the county who may need someone to check on them or provide assistance. Sometimes just a kind word goes a long way if someone is feeling lonely and alone, particularly during these long winter days.
And the needs certainly won’t stop when January rolls around – in fact they will likely increase. Many folks will still be in need of food, shelter and other types of assistance and if the economy doesn’t improve, things may get even worse.
And as for the animal shelter, sadly puppy and kitten season is just around the corner and as long as pet owners don’t spay and neuter their pets the shelter will once again be flooded with litters of baby animals, all needing care while they wait for someone to adopt them. Then there are those who adopt pets for Christmas who may return them in the New Year when that cat or dog proves to be more than they anticipated.
May we all continue to be mindful and to remember those, both human and animal, who are in need of a helping hand as 2010 begins.
God bless you all and Merry Christmas.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.