Archive for Monday, November 17, 2014

In the season of giving, think local

November 17, 2014

This is the season for being grateful for what we have and to give back something to those less fortunate within our community. Believe me there are lots of opportunities to help others. In fact in just one morning, I received four calls from worthwhile charities asking for contributions.

Now let me say that these are all agencies that help with needs in the metropolitan area including Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties, but I declined because I truly believe that charity begins and ends in our local area. I only contribute to local charities that serve the immediate area. We have lots of needs in our area, but we have a limited population to reach out to for assistance. There is increasing competition for dwindling donations which means we, as contributors, need to make some choices.

I want to make it clear that I am a big supporter of the United Way because I know the agencies and the good work they do.

The Bonner Springs-Edwardsville and Basehor-Linwood areas are fortunate to be served by fine agencies which provide direct aid to the needy. I urge residents to consider supporting their efforts. Vaughn-Trent Community Services and Basehor-Linwood Assistance Services are both gearing up for Christmas projects. While the agencies operate differently, they both have the same goal – assisting those less fortunate within the school districts.

Vaughn-Trent is preparing for its annual Christmas basket project. Each year Vaughn-Trent provides Christmas baskets to about 250 families within the USD 204 area. The bulk of the canned goods and non-perishable items comes from donations. Local schools, churches and clubs conduct food drives. In addition, food boxes are placed in local stores.

Yet here is another problem. Other worthwhile agencies outside the area also have food collection boxes in the stores. Since these agencies receive a lot more publicity, they cut into local donations. I hope that you not only will donate canned goods, but that you consider the local agencies first.

This year, Vaughn-Trent is seeking help to purchase perishable goods due to a tight budget. The agency also conducts its local fund drive this time of year.

The food boxes will be assembled at the First Christian Church under the direction of long-time chairperson Jeannine Gallagher. Volunteers of all ages join forces to make the event a success.

Vaughn-Trent operates the Hidden Treasures Thrift Store on Oak Street, and again I receive regular calls from fine outstanding agencies asking if I have any clothing to donate. I always tell them that I support the Vaughn-Trent store.

Basehor-Linwood Assistance Services faces similar problems. They depend on local contributions to operate and continue services. School groups donate food that is used in their holiday efforts and in the food pantry. They also adopt families at Christmas and presently have 29 families on the list. Information is available by calling the Basehor United Methodist Church.

We are fortunate to live in an area where residents really care and reach out to help the less fortunate. I urge all local residents to be a part of that effort by simply making a contribution. It can be as small as donating a can of vegetables. Also thanks to the many dedicated volunteers who give their time to insure services continue.

The need for food isn’t only at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Normally both food pantries get low after the holidays as donations tend to decrease in winter months. There are needs 12 months per year.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and that you will give back to others. There are many great regional opportunities, but please remember there are local needs.

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