By Barbara Draper
Special to The PREVIEW
As Thanksgiving draws near, most people begin thinking in earnest about the gifts they will buy for friends and loved ones this holiday season.
Do most of the people you buy gifts for really need another kitchen gadget, sweater, toy or piece of sporting equipment? Perhaps not.
There is an opportunity here in Pagosa that gives you a chance to break from the tradition of consumerism. You can give friends, family, co-workers, teachers and hostesses a “Gift of the Heart” that will not only show your love and appreciation for them, but will also give a gift to those in our community who are experiencing difficult days.
The “Gifts of the Heart” program, sponsored by Community United Methodist Church, is an outreach program that allows you to purchase beautifully designed cards for various occasions throughout the year.
When you purchase a card you can choose from four local non-profits that will benefit from your donation. The programs currently being supported by “Gifts of the Heart” are the Pagosa Springs Youth Center, the Archuleta County Education Center After School Tutoring Program, the Community Assistance Fund and the Methodist Church Food Pantry. The wording in the cards lets recipients know a gift donation has been made in their honor.
These card gifts can be purchased at the Community United Methodist Church office (434 Lewis St.) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and on Friday morning between 9 a.m. and noon. Cory will be happy to show you the wide variety of cards. There is also a letter with an envelope you can pick up to send to a family member or a friend requesting that you receive a “Gift of the Heart” from them rather than another gift this season.
This is an opportunity for you to break away from traditional gift giving and help many people in our community who have so many needs. Many of us fret about what scent of lotion to buy a friend, which shirt size fits an uncle, which games our grandchildren already have, etc. Many others are thinking about how to pay this month’s rent, whether their utilities will get paid, how to manage to buy their child a new pair of shoes, where this month’s food will come from, or how to provide a safe atmosphere for their children when they are working odd hours (if they are able to find employment).
These neighbors in need include single parents, the elderly, the chronically ill and others who may have fallen on economic hard times for any number of reasons. Imagine for a moment how each of the above-mentioned services can help improve daily living for these people, and think about the satisfaction you will experience when you choose to give something meaningful to those on your list and help your local neighbors at the same time.