If all is well in your world — or at least mostly well — you’ll be gathered with family and friends today or some other day this weekend, enjoying the company of loved ones, feasting on a big meal, perhaps watching a parade and some football and carrying out other activities.
For many families, the holiday is an occasion of reunion, often allowing the opportunity to be with loved ones who aren’t around for much of the year, so the Thanksgiving gathering takes on an even more special meaning. It’s a time to catch up on what’s happening in each other’s lives, make plans for the holidays and beyond.
Just those elements are plenty to be thankful for. And in line with the spirit of the holiday, most of us will take time to reflect on the many other things in our lives that have been a blessing in the past year. Those may be associated with a new family member, your health, your work or perhaps a general sense of satisfaction with your life.
Unfortunately, not everyone during this holiday season is feeling so blessed. Many among us face a variety of challenges, brought about by misfortune and tough circumstances. With the holidays approaching, these people are unlikely to feel much joy this season — unless those of us in better situations realize we are in a position to help and share some of that joy by giving.
There are many ways to do that, and one avenue is in today’s edition of The Herald-Dispatch.
On Page A11, you’ll find the newspaper’s annual Empty Stockings listing, which is brought to you by a partnership involving The Herald-Dispatch, the Information and Referral Services of Cabell County and a variety of local social service agencies.
Empty Stockings details the needs of 100 people as we head into the holiday season. Local agencies have sent Information and Referral the details about the needs, and Information and Referral compiles the list, which is published in today’s edition and will be repeated in the Dec. 1 and 15 editions. The real names of the individuals are not listed, but there will be an actual contact name and number for givers to find out details about where to bring their donations. The contacts can be reached during work hours on weekdays.
The needs identified generally boil down to the basics of life that all people want to cope from day to day. In past years, the requests have included winter coats, hats and gloves. Shoes, socks and winter boots. Bedclothes, blankets, and pillows for all members of a household. Personal hygiene items and towels. Toys and craft items for children who may not otherwise receive any gifts during the Christmas season. Cooking utensils and basic cooking appliances. Beds for children who have none or have to share one. Bus passes to get to jobs or medical appointments. Appropriate clothing to wear to job interviews.
As you can see, the needs are various and are important to people who have had to do without.
But your generosity can change that.
The Herald-Dispatch also will occasionally publish a list of charities that are busy working in coming weeks to brighten the holidays for those in need. The holiday charities list appears on today’s Community page in The Herald-Dispatch and will be repeated periodically. That also will provide information about how you can help others this season.
Check out the Empty Stockings and holiday charities listings to see how you can give others reason to say thanks in the weeks ahead.