The fortunate among us will wake Christmas morning and open presents. The day will continue with breakfasts, brunches, dinners, family and friends. As we anticipate the holidays and what they mean to each of us, we would do well to think of those less fortunate.

Regardless of the reason, some families will not have a full table during the holidays; there will not be toys for the boys and girls to open. Despite positive economic news there will always be families who have been passed by. Families struggling to stay together, to stay healthy, to stay fed, to stay in school.

Our minds understand that hunger and insecurity know no season; if a family is food insecure in December it might be food insecure in March or April or August. But our hearts tell us to reach out during the holidays to those less fortunate. Tis the season of caring and sharing after all.

How can we help those less fortunate? That’s the easy part, there are many organizations that aid those in need. Marion-Polk Food Share and the Keizer Community Food Bank are instrumental in feeding hundreds of people. The people that patronize a food bank are not bums or lazy, they are families who have fallen on hard times and need a hand up. More than 80 years ago that’s what Americans were doing for each other during the depths of the Great Depression—everyone seemed to be in the same boat.

That is not the case these days. Everyone is not in the same boat, some are thriving while others struggle. We show what kind of society we are by how we treat the weakest and neediest.

It doesn’t take much to change the daily lives of people. Donating cash instead of food allows the food bank to purchase more than we can give. We should all endeavor to see that the shelves of the Keizer Community Food Bank groan from the weight of all the food that is available for families in need.

Food is important, but so is personal security. We implore Keizer households to look through their closests for unused coats, shoes and other clothing items. A little child doesn’t care what the label says or what color the coat is, they will be over the moon because they have a coat that will keep them warm.

What do you do with items you want to donate? Contact the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul or any church. The Closet at McNary has been very successful at matching students in need and donated clothes and accessories.

We all have things we don’t use that can easily be donated to make life better for someone else. Tis the season to do that. Let us do our spring cleaning now, in December, to gather unused items and give them a second life. Let us add a few more food items to the food cart when shopping to donate along with cash to the Keizer Community Food Bank.

Be generous this season, be kind to those in need. When we give we receive the warmth of being good humans.

  —LAZ