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The Gift Of Giving Has No End Date

Published: January 5, 2017

The Newtown Bee

Now is the time of silence and reflection. The hustle of the holidays is behind us and we are able to observe the world that has been spinning past while we busied ourselves with seasonal rituals and glad tidings.

We are tired from endless rounds of celebrations; but not as tired as the refugees of Aleppo and other war-ravaged regions.

We are hungry from self-imposed diets; but not so hungry as the 13.1 million children who, according to feedingamerica.org, live in food-insecure households.

We are thirsty from overindulging in dehydrating holiday spirits; but not so thirsty as those in Africa who, without the help of groups like The Bridge Water Project, have no access to clean water.

We are frustrated by the health care system; but not so frustrated as the millions in the world who have no access to any health services.

We are worried about quality education for our children; but not so worried as parents in other countries for whom education is a poorly directed and inadequate investment, according to worldfund.org, resulting in a lack of quality schools and teachers — and lack of educational opportunities for their children.

We are cold, but not so cold as the more than 4,000 individuals identified in 2015 by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness as being homeless, or the 3,000 youth without a reliable shelter who are at the mercy of our winter weather.

We have been generous throughout the holidays, and there may be a “donation fatigue” setting in. But this calm is an opportunity to consider what we can continue to do to make not only our world, but the global world, a gentler place in 2017.

The International Rescue Committee at rescue.org provides support to families who have had to flee the crisis in Aleppo. The millions of Syrian children suffering from the war there can be helped by donating at unicefusa.org. Organizations like barefootcollege.org, tostan.org, and care.org work to bring educational opportunities to children around the world.

In our own state, groups like covenanthouse.org help homeless and runaway youth. Shelterforhomeless.org offers emergency shelter to homeless men of Fairfield County, and other organizations across the state provide shelter and nourishment to those without homes. It was good news that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced late last month that the State of Connecticut will receive approximately $44.5 million in federal grants to help support the state’s goal of ending homelessness.

Closer to home, FAITH Food Pantry at 31 Pecks Lane and the town food pantry located in Social Services at 3 Town Hall South have an ongoing need for donations, beyond the holidays, and at Social Services, assistance is available for those whose situations put them at risk.

Keeping an eye on elderly or incapacitated neighbors when winter storms blow in takes but a moment, and costs only the worth of our time. In this age of social media and Google — not to mention the good, old-fashioned telephone — it is not difficult to find ways to reach out.

We owe it to ourselves to continue the gift of giving in this quiet season, in this new year.

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