This is a season for sharing

Food foremost among many needs

By The Mercury

It hasn’t taken area residents long to get into the Christmas spirit. Houses, sometimes entire blocks, light up the dark nights with brilliant colors and boost spirits in the daytime with Santas, reindeer and nativity scenes.

All those designated days — Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday — have come and gone, yet local shoppers are out and about and carols are rarely out of earshot. It really is beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas.

While we’re doing the little things that will make this Christmas memorable for our families, let’s also do our part to ensure that residents who aren’t as fortunate as others of us also partake of the spirit of Christmas this year.

Most people don’t want others to know they’re in a bind or can’t find steady work. And the many who work — sometimes three jobs — and are still poor rarely brag that their paychecks won’t stretch far enough to pay the utility bills, buy winter clothing for the children, pay for medicines, keep the car in good repair and gassed up and put food on the table.

We can help in a number of ways, from dropping money into Salvation Army kettles when we shop to donating winter gloves, coats and hats — new or worn — so others can keep warm this winter. We also can contribute to organizations like Toys for Manhattan and Fort Riley’s Operation Santa so that children in struggling families find something under the tree Christmas morning. Such contributions needn’t cost a lot but can make a huge difference for folks in need.

And we can make sure that everyone in this community enjoys a nutritious Christmas dinner and has enough to eat in the months to come by contributing to the Mayor’s Holiday Tree Food and Fund Drive. Proceeds go to the Flint Hills Breadbasket, which doesn’t just provide food to those who need it but also guides them to other agencies that can offer different kinds of assistance.

Canned meats and vegetables are always in need, and everyday foods like peanut butter and jelly and most nonperishable items are welcomed. Cash donations also meet important needs, helping the Breadbasket acquire perishable foods and items in short supply.

The willingness to help neighbors in need is one of the characteristics that has long defined Manhattan. As Christmas approaches, let us respond again, sharing some of our blessings —and the spirit of this wonderful season — with others.

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