Take stock at year’s end and give to those in need

At the end of each year, the days draw short and so does our time. We have lots to do between Thanksgiving and the New Year, not the least of which is to prepare for our families’ Christmas.

In spite of that, or perhaps because of it, as the year draws to a close, it still offers ample opportunity for all of us — in good health or poor, wealthy or needy, suffering loss or celebrating success — to take stock of our lives and to appreciate that no person goes it alone. As you reflect on your community, regardless of your station in life, now is as good a time as any to think about how you can give back to your community and friends who have helped you in small ways or large.

The government makes it easy by giving us tax deductions for donations to qualified non-profits. Think about the many organizations in the community who make a difference, from the United Way to churches to specific non-profit groups that help young people, the elderly or the poor. Pick your favorite or several and send them a check today. The amount is not as important as the effort. Giving to other people and other causes changes lives.

As winter weather descends upon us, think about how you can help those who are in need of winter coats, mittens and boots. With Christmas coming, don’t forget the Holiday Gift Giving Program which provides gifts to many, many children who otherwise would receive little or nothing. With hunger an issue for many, set aside something for your local food shelf as well.

The needs of the world are countless. You did not receive all the blessings that have come your way this year solely on your own initiative. You had help along the way, no matter how successful you have been. With the end of another year upon us, it’s time to give back. Give as you are able. It makes for a stronger community, and is not only good for you, it’s good for your soul.