11/18/2004 12:58:00 PM Editorial What's the best gift?
As city workers hang electric snowflakes on utility poles on a springlike November afternoon, it’s a little difficult to believe the holiday season is just about to begin.
But things start getting busy this weekend in Crawford County, and won’t let up until Christmas.
But before the rush, it might be a good time to remind ourselves that there are those — even our neighbors, even right here — for whom the holiday season is just another chunk of the never-ending struggle to get by.
Measured in 2003, the Crawford County poverty rate was 11.2 percent — higher than the state average. More than a third of renters could not afford the rent for a two-bedroom apartment here. A total of 12.3 percent of county residents were uninsured. Nearly 11 percent of us avoid going to the doctor because it costs too much.
The numbers go on — and so does the need. Fortunately, Crawford County charitable organizations and initiatives have done much to meet the needs and mend the holes in the “safety net.” Unfortunately, charitable giving is sporadic, while the needs are constant.
This is one of the times of year — traditionally a time of giving, and thanksgiving — that contributions normally increase. It’s a time to reach a little deeper and pay a little more attention to where the needs are. The Daily News for the past few years has drawn attention to holiday-season charitable initiatives, and we plan to do the same this year — to help you make informed decisions about your local giving.
But it’s also time to reflect on our own priorities, and on how we might make a difference not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year. And not only by giving food or money or clothing — though they’re all needed — but maybe by getting involved as a volunteer, sharing a skill or a passion, or just some time and elbow grease.
Expanding our definition of “giving” beyond writing a check or dropping off a sack of canned goods might do wonders not only for the community, but for us.
Who knows? It might end up being the best gift you give — or get — this year.