With the holiday season upon us, thoughts turn to travel plans, parties, gifts, events and celebrations.

For too many in our area thoughts of families in need turn to what they don’t have and what they cannot look forward to.

Parents of needy families will worry that come Christmas morning there will be very little, or nothing at all, under the tree (if there even is a tree) for their children.  Worse, those mothers and fathers will have the constant concern they live with: not being able to provide enough nutritous food for their children.

Thankfully we don’t live in a Dickensian world where the haves ignore the have nots. Keizer and all of Marion County is generous when it comes to our neighbors. The Keizer Network of Women’s (KNOW) annual Giving Basket program, along with similar programs from other organizations, takes on heightened sense of urgency.

KNOW, part of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, took on the annual Giving Basket project several years ago and has turned it into a precise operation that doesn’t stop until it has what it needs. This year KNOW expects to deliver Christmas presents such as toys, clothing, books, and more than 125 Keizer families, which includes more than 400 children.

While the Giving Basket program will brighten the holidays for the recepients, it is time for all the organizations that generously collect and distribute food and gifts to devise a plan to expand giving  programs into other times of the year.

We all know that hunger and needs know no season. The families who receive boxes of food during this season are hungry in the spring and summer as well. Our community is more generous during the holiday season—and that should never change—but it would be a benefit to establish a second giving season, either at the beginning of summer, when school is letting out, or in August, just before the school year begins.

A giving program in August could couple food boxes with school supplies that every kid needs. A child who is without shouldn’t have to face a new school year without enough food or the proper supplies.

Let’s turn the generosity of the holidays into a second season of giving to help our neighbors who need a helping hand.