It’s easy to help others this holiday season and every season

By: Angela Ponivas Special to Inside Lincoln
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Have you ever read the book or seen the movie “A Christmas Carol?” It’s the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, written by Charles Dickens in 1843. Although written in 1843, it has surely stood the test of time, as it is still a very relevant, holiday story that teaches us the true meaning of Christmas. Scrooge is a hard, cold miser who spends his days counting his profits and wishing the world would leave him alone. He doesn’t believe in charity and he is certain that those who do are just lazy bums looking for a handout. In the movie, two men collecting donations for charity come to Scrooge expecting that such a wealthy businessman will contribute to their cause but Scrooge refuses. He insists that there are government-established forms of aid, and if more is needed to help the poor, it’s the government's responsibility. In today’s economic climate, there are those who believe as Scrooge. They think that it is the government’s responsibility to take care of the poor. However, government has funding challenges and many programs have been cut. The poor are growing in number. Although the economy is difficult, America is still a wealthy nation and there are still enough resources to ensure that every person is clothed, fed and living in a dignified manner. This is Lighthouse’s vision for the region, and if you have a similar vision and want to join in truly making a difference, then here are a few suggestions: Adopt a family – There are a vast number of local residents who are living at poverty level or below. Many cannot afford a nice holiday meal and gifts to show love. Lighthouse coordinates family adoptions by providing you with a wish list and information on a family. Donate food – The Salt Mine, our local food pantry, helps to ensure that people are fed during the holiday season. Donate a toy – Toys for Tots and the Lions Club work hard each year to ensure that children, up to 12-years-old, have a toy under the Christmas tree. Donate a gift card – Gift cards are wonderful gifts, particularly for teens. Host a holiday party - Ask each attendee to bring a gift card or a donation that can be given to a local nonprofit organization. If every holiday party in the region made this a practice, we would experience abundance instead of lack during the holidays. Mobilize your network of friends – Raise awareness of community needs within your group of friends and create a greater purpose for your card club, bongo group, parent group, etc. by deciding on something you can do together to make a difference. Donate to your local nonprofits – Lighthouse and Salt Mine, in particular, are essential organizations to the community that expend a great amount of energy coordinating and securing resources that meet the needs of the poor and the hurting. To continue, we need your support. Volunteer – Many senior citizens, particularly those in senior-living facilities such as Lincoln Manor, would love to see a smiling face, have a story read, a musical instrument played or listen to carols being sung. Others are living on fixed incomes and struggling. Bringing a senior a cooked meal, a tin of cookies or a handmade gift can totally brighten their holiday experience. It is always good to take care of yourself first but please remember those less fortunate. It is essential during these economic times that we band together and care for each other. For other ideas on how to make a difference, go to Angela Ponivas is executive director of the Lighthouse Counseling & Resource Center, 427 A St., Suite 400. The phone number is 645-3300.