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Step up for others at the holidays

A trip to CrossRoad Christian Fellowship Saturday led us to reflect on things attendant to a holiday season that begins today, with Thanksgiving.

Local kids at the Operation Christmas Child event packed shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items, as well a Beanie Baby or a handmade sock doll. Shoeboxes from the event will be distributed in Mexico or Haiti this year. With the support of local churches, businesses and volunteers, kids learned about the joy had when helping others — a lesson we all need to review as the holiday progresses.

A glance at the calendar in The PREVIEW and at articles in this week’s issue serves to remind readers of the many holiday activities in town this season.

While we enjoy these cheerful activities, it is incumbent on us to follow the lead of the kids who packed the shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. We need to tend to those less fortunate than ourselves this holiday season and, in fact, year round.

While the shoeboxes packed by local youngsters will go to children in other countries, we remember there are opportunities to assist those close to home, with far too many individuals and families to help.

The economic downturn has put pressure on a lot of Pagosans, and the response from the community to render assistance has been noteworthy. It is a response that must continue.

This week, an effort by Community United Methodist Church and John Paul II Catholic Church distributed food boxes for the Thanksgiving holiday.

But, Thanksgiving is but one day of the year. Demand remains at local food banks. Four food banks serve Pagosa: Community United Methodist’s food pantry, St. Patrick’s Episcopal food bank, Pope John Paul II Catholic Church food bank and Restoration Fellowship food share. All of these food banks provide items to those in the community who are in need, no questions asked.

Common donations needed by all food banks are: pasta, oatmeal, canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned meat, peanut butter. Other items needed are toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, dish soap, washing soap and feminine hygiene products. Donations can be made at any time, and monetary donations are welcomed.

Work is underway for the Christmas holiday. The Salvation Army will fill many Christmas food and gift needs, and local Realtors are conducting their Bucks for Bikes program.

Donations for Bucks for Bikes can be mailed to or dropped off at the Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors, 190 Talisman Drive, No. D-5, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Checks should be made payable to Bucks For Bikes. The donation deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 29.

To participate in the Salvation Army gift program, donors can obtain a gift tag from the Angel Tree at City Market. Once the specified gift is purchased, it should be delivered, unwrapped, to Bank of the San Juans, Citizens Bank uptown location, Rio Grande Savings and Loan, or 1st Southwest Bank. Angel Tree gifts must be received by Dec. 9.

Food donations (traditional holiday fare — canned and boxed goods, no fresh foods) can be left in the barrel next to the Angel Tree at City Market. Turkeys will be purchased with monetary donations, which can be left in the Salvation Army Kettle, outside City Market. The monetary donations at the kettle also serve to fund the Salvation Army’s day-to-day work, providing crisis funds for those in need throughout the year. Checks can also be sent to P.O. Box 1567, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, made out to the Salvation Army. One hundred percent of funds stay in Archuleta County.

It is the holidays. Time to step up for others.

Karl Isberg

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