By Dorrie Maynard
Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Meilleurs Voeux, Felices Fiestas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, and any others that I may have missed!
As we all go on about with our busy preparations for the festivities this season with family and friends, please take some time to remember and acknowledge those who don’t have people to spend the holidays with. There are many out there who don’t even have a safe and warm place to sleep at night.
I know there is a fine line between enabling and helping, but just for this season we can all try to not judge others until we have walked in their shoes or know their battles. Some are out there because they are drinking and/or drugging and choose to continue to do so, and others are out there because of circumstances that they may have contributed to or had no assistance to handle.
A place like the Mustard Seed on Piedmont street is a great place to start giving back to your community! You can drop off gently used, clean, warm clothing, groceries, toiletries, sleeping bags, blankets, pairs of socks, or even offer to prepare and serve a meal to the sometimes more than 100 hungry people who visit daily.
The Mustard Seed is open Monday through Friday, 4 pm – 6 pm.
Other local places to consider: Abby’s House, the Veteran’s Shelter, St. John’s Feeding program, your local senior center, the Boy’s & Girls Club of Worcester, the Friendly House, the Salvation Army, just to name a few.
Children at the Friendly House Annual Christmas Party, held this past Sunday at FH, 36 Wall St., met Santa, got a holiday gift, had fun and were treated to entertainment because of the efforts and love of volunteers – and FH Executive Director Gordon Hargrove! Donations of gently used (or new!), warm, clean clothing and blankets are always needed this time of year at the Friendly House!
I don’t like to give money to pan handlers, but I do try to always have some granola bars in my car to hand
out. There was one man on a corner I recognized from working at a local food pantry, and I offered him a bar.
He said, “No thanks. I don’t have any teeth.” And then he smiled at me.
I didn’t have have anything else to give him, but he was gracious when I offered something.
I also try to have on hand: a pair of gloves, mittens, hat, scarf this time of year to give out to folks on street corners. I know it might be their attempt to look cold, thus making people
feel more sorry for them, but at least I feel better knowing they have something warm as I drive off.
If you are more into helping animals, as some are, for various reasons, another suggestion is to give to your local animal rescue league/society. They are always in need of used, clean blankets and towels, rolls of paper towels, bleach, cat litter, pet food, etc. You can always call ahead or look on line at their wish lists to find out what they truly are in need of, as things change daily, depending upon what they have or have run out of.
I always believe it is best to donate to small local rescues, as they help animals in your area. I don’t like to donateto the places that you see ads for on TV as they are paying for those ads, and those “free” t-shirts or bags
that they are willing to send you for your donation aren’t “free” either.
Something else that people can do this holiday season and throughout the year: Volunteer!!! Pick a passion! Get involved in your community! It may take some time to find the perfect place where you feel like you belong, but there are plenty of places out there
that are in need of regular volunteers.
So with all this said, I would like to wish everyone a very warm, safe, happy and healthy holiday season. All the best in the coming New Year! In this very difficult world that we live in, try to have a little compassion in your heart and empathy for others. Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards All!