Open your hands, heart for giving this season

In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” we are early introduced to Ebenezer Scrooge’s selfishness through his interaction with two gentlemen who are soliciting for charity. They tell Scrooge, “At this festive season of the year, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts.”

Nearly 200 years have passed since Dickens penned and published what has become one of the most beloved works of 19th-century literature, and while much has changed about the world, one thing remains unfortunately constant: people being in need.

There’s another constant, too, though: Just as in Dickens’ time, there are people looking to help make provision for those in need – especially at this festive season of the year.

We have friends and neighbors for whom the holiday season presents an especially challenging time. We want to take a moment out of the hustle and bustle of the holidays to remind you to think of those less fortunate and tap into a giving spirit this holiday season.

The season can bring stress instead of joy for families facing financial hardship. Whether it’s the means to put Christmas dinner on the table or to light up their children’s faces with a pile of wrapped goodies, some in our community need a little extra help.

They are counting on “goodwill to men” as they face what, instead of being the most wonderful time of the year, has the potential to be the bleakest. They need our help, and just like jolly old St. Nick himself, Franklin County has always delivered. Local opportunities to help make the season merry and bright for those in need are in great supply.

The Russellville Helping Santa program – spearheaded by the city’s fire and police departments – is a favorite for many to support. For several years, Russellville firefighters and police officers have led the effort to collect toys for children of all ages across Russellville and Franklin County. You can find donation boxes in a number of local businesses and city offices.

There’s also Bank Independent’s annual Toy Share drive, one of four donation efforts the bank hosts throughout the year. People can donate at any bank branch, and toys are distributed through the Department of Human Resources in Franklin County.

Many schools, churches and civic groups are coordinating their own efforts to collect toys as well as other necessities for Franklin County families.

Whether it’s through a church, a school or a community group, we encourage you to choose one or more of these giving opportunities and contribute as you are able.

As the saying goes: It is truly more blessed to give than to receive.

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