It is that time of year when people say “It’s that time of year to…” They mean it’s the time of year to be nice to others; to give to those less fortunate then ourselves.

Toys and clothing are delivered to children in need in our region. Boxes of the makings of a holiday meal are delivered to households in need ‘this time of year.’

This week’s weather should remind us that not everyone around us is warm, has an appropriate coat to face the freezing temperatures. In Salem, the Mid-Valley Community Action Agency is overseeing two warming stations. The American Legion post on Lilac Lane in north Salem will open a warming station for veterans only.

Warming stations are needed not only by those who live on the streets, but also those who, for whatever reason, have no heat in their homes. Keizer doesn’t have a big homeless population but there are those whose homes do not have adequate heat. Keizer’s organizations—especially its houses of worship—need to live their missions and faith and give a helping hand to those most in need. As the Jackie DeShannon song says: “Think of your fellow man, lend him a helping hand. Put a little love in your heart.”

There is no doubt that Keizer is generous—it provides monthly community dinners, it donates money for playgrounds and football fields. Charity cannot always be given on the donor’s schedule—we are called to offer assistance when it is needed, such as a freezing cold snap coming through.

Simonka Place in Keizer is packed and cannot act as a warming station, much as the Union Gospel Mission itself. Our community may not have a large number of people who need shelter from the cold, but surely local, centrally located churches can open their doors, arms and hearts to those who can’t just turn up the thermostat or throw another log on the fire.

The same can be true for the city and its Civic Center. Baring a scheduled event, could the conference center at the Civic Center not be available for those in need?

Society is called on during these few days of cold to be charitable and giving. We must all remind ourselves that charity and caring are not for holiday season only. People get cold in February, people are hungry in June.

Yes, it is that time of year, but ‘that time of the year’ should be year round. Lending a helping hand is a year ‘round proposition.

  —LAZ