Weekly Feature

2013-12-11 / Editorial

Reach out and help community during holidays

Bee Editorial

While the holidays are a time of joy, they can also be one of sorrow. One where we remember those people, or places, no longer here. One where memories of the past consume our ability to enjoy the present. For many, the holidays are not happy.

The reality — unlike what the media project — is that many people experience loneliness and isolation, and the holidays only accentuate these painful feelings. It’s important to recognize, and be sensitive to and aware of, this very real and widespread need. But more importantly, we need to reach out a helping hand.

The needs are great at this time of year not only for emotional support — to combat loneliness by creating community — but also financially. It is difficult for a family struggling to keep the heat on to afford to buy their children presents for Christmas.

Fortunately, the Ken-Ton area is home to many organizations that have created ways to help one another, whether that’s through sharing a meal or organizing a toy drive. These organizations are mostly run entirely by volunteers, and they’re always looking for people to share in the work. Volunteering during the holidays is a wonderful way to get in touch with needs in the community and to see firsthand how those needs are being met.

Churches are excellent places to find ways to volunteer. St. Andrew’s Church recently hosted a Thanksgiving Day event, where members of the community who had no other place to go could come and enjoy a warm meal. Additionally, a number of toy drives are taking place throughout the community. The Youth, Parks & Recreation Department is again hosting its annual toy drive, and collection barrels have recently been placed at a number of locations throughout the town. One of them is the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave. Schofield Residence Nursing Facility, located at 3333 Elmwood Ave., is serving as a drop-off site for the Salvation Army’s Gift of Warmth Drive. Donations of hats, gloves and mittens are being accepted through December. The items will be distributed by the Salvation Army to needy individuals in the community.

The Ken-Ton Meals on Wheels delivers not only a warm meal to its clients but also emotional support to people who may be lonely. Email Dan Wiles at ktmow@tonawanda. ny.us for more information.

Additionally, the Ken-Ton Closet serves the community through offering needy families donated items such as clothing, toiletries and school supplies. Email ken-toncloset@ktpa.org for more information.

By drawing closer together as a community, we can fight the loneliness that many feel.

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