With Thanksgiving over and roughly 20 days left until Christmas, we have definitely entered the holiday season.
One name for this time period is the season for giving.
Nowhere does that seem more true than here in the Faribault County area. In fact, it is almost mind blowing how much giving goes on in our little communities. We seem to hear about more opportunities for giving every day.
Of course, there are those little red kettles stationed at stores, for donating to the Salvation Army. That is a traditional way to give, that has been going on for years.
But, there is so much more.
A story in this week’s paper tells about people boxing up shoe box gifts for children in need.
Another church has a coat drive, so that every resident in the area, including many children, have a warm coat to wear this winter.
Then there is the Community Christmas Giving Tree project. A tree set up in the Wal-Mart lobby has kids’ names on it. The idea is to take a name off the tree, buy a gift and bring it back and put it under the tree.
Last year, the group who sponsors the tree say they were able to provide nearly 200 gifts for kids who might not have much waiting for them under their own tree.
This year they have more than 200 names on the tree. But, unlike last year, this season they had only had 22 gifts dropped off as of last week.
They have postponed their wrapping day (where volunteers come in and wrap all the gifts) so that folks have an extra week to pick a name and buy a gift.
You have until Friday. If you have never done this before, maybe you want to try it this year.
On last Tuesday evening, there was a group of Blue Earth Area High School students in the Wal-Mart front lobby. And, while some shoppers might have thought the kids were renting a movie from the Red Box, they were not. They were picking names off the tree and shopping.
They were giving.
One of the biggest examples of giving can be found in our local food shelf.
Besides their normal work of providing food products for folks in need all year round, they do several large projects each year.
Within a short couple of weeks, they prepare hundreds of boxes of food for more than 200 families in the area. They do this right before Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It is an amazing sight, as a picture in a recent edition of the Register showed. It is an incredible amount of food, going out to our neighbors, in one day.
How do they do this? By people giving – giving money to purchase the food, or donating the food items themselves.
One big push for the food shelf is going on even as this column is being written.
The ‘You Can Make A Difference Campout’ in Juba’s grocery store parking lot raises a lot of money, food items and toys for those in need.
It is a great idea. For some reason, folks like to drive up and see these crazy guys out freezing and hand them money, food and toys. If you have never done this, maybe you want to try it some year. (The giving, not the freezing, I mean.)
Mavis Hilpipre, food shelf director, says this one event raises enough money and food to keep them in operation for about half the year.
There are, of course, many other worthy places to give. And, many other volunteers out there giving of themselves to help others: church groups, youth leagues, service clubs and neighbors. Too many to try and name.
There is even a new one I had not heard of before. “Shop with a Cop.”
It seems the local law enforcement personnel take disadvantaged kids out for a day of shopping at Wal-Mart. (It is funded through a grant from Wal-Mart.)
The gist of all this is that there a lot of people around here who care about others. They dedicate time, money and effort to help make sure everyone has a happy holiday season. They give.
While this happens everywhere, I like to think there is more of it going on in rural Minnesota than anywhere else.
And, the Faribault County area is a prime example of it.
To paraphrase an old Elvis song, “There’s a whole lot of givin’ goin’ on.”