This time of year brings a different spirit upon us, one in which most of us feel the need and desire to give back — or pay forward — some of the blessings we all enjoy.
It is spurred on by the twin religious holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas but we would say that even those who have no conscious religious beliefs capture the same spirit. If nothing else, we are simply motivated by the desire to make our world a better place.
This week the News-Journal has reported on a number of such efforts, many in the realm of collecting and distributing food to those who need help this Thanksgiving. So many of us have so much that this is a natural time to spread the joy around.
For example, more than 200 people took time to assemble food boxes to provide Thanksgiving meals for more than 1,150 families in our area, marking the 33rd consecutive year for the Longview Thanksgiving Food Drive.
Each year’s drive is bigger than the last. That is not necessarily because there is more need but because each year brings more of an outpouring of love from the community. Some of the families helped might have scraped together enough to provide their own Thanksgiving, but now those resources can be used to meet another need.
We know the kindnesses being provided by volunteers will do nothing less than spread the joy of this season. Students, off school for Thanksgiving break, could have spent the free time sleeping in or partying but many of them also showed up to help. That’s a good way to start their lives as volunteers.
Other drives for food and to provide Christmas for children were also taking place this week and will continue until the final days before the holiday. Operation Christmas Child, an annual toy drive, collected more than 1,500 gifts last year and is working aggressively to get even more this year.
We’re confident they will reach their goal.
Some enjoyed the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree and fun with balloons and other games and attractions downtown this past weekend. The tree lighting was being done for its second year but as a new tradition it was well worth the effort. The thousand or so people in attendance seemed to agree.
If you missed that event, a number of other Christmas parades, events and shows are scheduled throughout December, with Longview’s parade coming Dec. 5. Of course, Santa is going to be showing himself at venues across the city.
There’s more, we’re sure, and some about which word has not yet reached us. We will work to keep you as informed as possible about community celebrations and opportunities to serve. If you’re aware of one we’ve missed, please let us know.
If you aren’t already part of some of the good works and good fun we hope you’ll consider joining in. Yes, it is a lot and, as some naysayers will tell you, not all ills will be cured but we think Edward Everett Hale had it right when he wrote:
I am only one,
But I am still one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.