With the calendar now displaying December, most of us have set our efforts on decorating our homes, shopping for presents for our friends and loved ones and thinking about our holiday menus.

  As you go about preparing for your own Christmas traditions, don’t forget that there are families right here in Marshall County who don’t have the means to see to it that their children have gifts under the tree. There are mothers and fathers whose greatest concern is how they will piece together the funds for this month’s rent and electric bill, while some of us search for the perfect gifts for our spouse or children.

  There are numerous opportunities to share the spirit of the season with those less fortunate in the coming weeks. There are also many opportunities to encourage that spirit within your children to instill a lifelong habit of sharing especially during the holidays.

  Local churches, civic groups and charitable organizations have efforts in place to help with the needs in our community which impact the working poor, the unemployed and the elderly.  They need you to become involved with a generous spirit of giving if you have the means.

  The Marshall County Caring Needline, just having completed the distribution of Thanksgiving baskets, is appealing to the community for generosity at the Mike Miller County Park light display now through the end of the year. Director Becky Cornwell told us recently the need is greater than ever.

  As you drive the kids through the park to see the lights, be sure and drop off a donation of non-perishable food items or cash at Santa’s workshop.  This is the largest fundraiser of the year for Needline and they need our help to keep supplies stocked.

  You can help stock the pantry at Marcella’s Kitchen by bringing a canned good to this weekend’s Dickens Festival in Benton. Present the food item at the Spirit of Giving Train Stop and you will receive a certificate signed by Santa recognizing your generosity.

  Countless civic groups need your help as well. The Rotary Club could use your donation as they finalize shopping for gifts of clothing and toys for about 200 needy children.

  This December, take the time to involve your family in a giving effort that extends beyond your own walls. Whether your generosity serves to put food on a family’s table or lights up the eyes of a child on Christmas morning, you will be making a difference in a neighbor’s life.  The gesture may just be the greatest gift you can give your own family.

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