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Volunteering Time or Money During These Difficult Times

We have all just come through probably the most unusual Thanksgiving of our lifetimes. Gatherings via Zoom versus in-person hugs became a reality of our once favorite holiday this year. The same people you were stuck inside with all year might have been the same folks and only attendees around the table. Fear of a virus spreading throughout the globe, along with many other natural disasters, and political stories have captivated the screens as our only windows into a world pretty shaken as we enter the end of 2020. Thus many ask, how can anyone expect me to donate my time or money this holiday to others when I don’t know how my situation might be playing out in six weeks or months down the road?

It’s a great question, and one without a clear answer. The funny part is that no one can expect anything of their fellow man – be it stimulus checks, fast vaccines, kindness, or grace in the face of unimaginable tragedy. We have to find that motivation deep within ourselves. Many of us have traditions around the holiday that would once include serving at food banks, dinners for the less fortunate, foster kid appreciation and gift events, homeless coat distributions, and the list goes on. Sure, there are masks, sanitizers, and stay at home orders now that limit or have eradicated these large scale volunteer efforts. That doesn’t mean the need has gone away.

Imagine for a moment that you were a food service, resort worker, or mechanic barely making the edges meet before the pandemic. What does your world look like today? Bleak would be the best word. Loss of jobs has led to unprecedented mental illness events, homelessness, reliance on nonprofit resources, and most of all, a rampant fear that is debilitating our communities. Essential workers like nurses, doctors, and researchers finding a vaccine and helping those felled by the pandemic are inspirational for certain, deserving of all the support we can provide. But lest we not forget those who work in the food banks, distribute necessities to the less fortunate, welfare workers trying to keep children and those with mental illnesses safe. The volunteers that rise each morning to put themselves directly in the path of those who are bearing the brunt of this horrible pandemic.

This holiday season, and even as we enter 2021, we all need to glance around and do a short tally of our blessings. Are we healthy, and are our children safe beside us? Do we still have a house to distance within socially? Are we able to have delivered, curbside pick up, or even shop all the necessities? If you can answer yes to these questions – you did pretty well in 2020 for sure. Maybe this holiday, think about those who answered no, to one or all of those questions above. Is there something small in the way of a donation of your time or monies that might make all the difference to someone teetering on the edge of hopelessness, or maybe simply needs a hand to pull them back up until the worst of this passes, and they can get back to work?

Yes, 2020 has kicked us all in the teeth. The one thing we have going for us is hope, love, and community. Whatever small thing you can do to keep those things afloat until we can all get back to a new normal is appreciated. The front line workers that will distribute gifts, food, and the basics to so many this season thank you – and together, we will prove that nothing can get us truly down if we link hands and support each other.

May you all have a wonderful holiday season!

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