Editorial: The giving season
It’s that time of year again … the time when your post office box is stuffed to overflowing with holiday catalogs. Wedged in there among the latest offerings from L.L. Bean and Land’s End, you’ll probably find something else that’s a sign of the season—donation letters.
This is the time when many non-profits kick off their end-of-year fundraising campaigns. But before you simply toss that letter aside, take a few minutes to think about the organization and the valuable services its members provide to the community.
Many of these groups provide a social safety net for families struggling in our community, filling basic needs such as weekly food distributions and home heating fuel assistance, to ensuring that no one is turned away from services like the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA.
Those groups have been hit especially hard in the current recession—at the same time they see their donations fall as traditional donors have cut back on expenses, the services they are providing are more in demand than ever. It’s a paradox those in the non-profit sector have become all too familiar with—skyrocketing expenses with fewer and fewer dollars coming in to cover those costs.
Hands Across Mathews. The Gloucester-Mathews Free Clinic. The Samaritan Group. Habitat for Humanity … the list goes on and on. And they’re all feeling the pinch.
They are faced with the agonizing choice of either having to cut vital services to those truly in need or running into debt and risk not being able to help anyone. It’s the same dilemma faced by the pilot of a lifeboat about to be swamped over by hundreds of people from a shipwreck. As horrible as it is for those who are drowning, in a way it’s even worse for that pilot who has to stand by unable to help.
This is the time of year when we are asked to reflect upon the things for which we are thankful—good health, a loving family, a roof over our heads, a steady job. If we are fortunate enough to have these blessings, perhaps we should consider sharing them with those who don’t.