Giving can make holidays merry for others |

Giving can make holidays merry for others

by Kelli Johnson

With Christmas just around the corner, the Family Support Council of Douglas County has received numerous calls asking about how a person, a family, or a business, might give to individuals who may be feeling the effects of the high cost of gas and utility bills, the ever increasing costs of housing and the desire to provide the kind of holiday we all want to give to our family, specifically to our children. Of course, most people are especially eager to provide gifts to younger children who are still filled with the magic and wonder of Santa and may be just starting to understand the larger meaning of Christmas.

Project Santa is Douglas County’s concerted effort to provide gifts to children under the age of 15, to collect food for the Carson Valley Community Food Closet for food baskets, to gather coats and hats and mittens to keep everyone in our community warm and to generally make everyone’s Christmas merry. The people who donate time, money and gifts to Project Santa Claus are a reflection of the generosity and good will that is extended by Douglas County throughout the year.

In addition to those giving through Project Santa Claus, we would also like to encourage our community to consider families with older teen children and seniors who come to our office all year round looking for assistance when they’ve hit a bump in the road, or are in need of special help at Christmas. We want to offer some ideas for holiday giving, but also for year round giving.

Anyone who is still looking for a way to give of yourself or your business during the Christmas season, please consider giving to seniors and to older children. We have many families who come to the Family Support Council in need of energy assistance, gas vouchers, food vouchers and other necessities. A great idea for a family is to put together a gift basket with gift certificates for these necessity items, but also for a meal at a local family restaurant, movie tickets or a Blockbuster gift certificate. One of our board members shared a story about her co-workers opting to forego a gift exchange at her office and instead spend the money they would have spent on the gift exchange, to make a donation to a local charity. She said the good feeling they received by giving to those in need, far outweighed the extra items they’d take home and give to a thrift store later. When I recently mentioned these ideas to a fellow chamber member, LaVerne Jory of Piñon Pines Realty, LaVerne and her husband Ed Jory, a local home inspector, immediately made a $100 contribution to our energy assistance fund to be given to a family, anytime of the year, who needs some help. This inspired me to share these ideas with more people in our community and to remind you that our families can use a hand all year round and in the most basic areas of their lives. Thank you Jorys, for leading the charge and thank you Douglas County, for your generosity.

n Kelli Johnson is executive director at the Family Support Council of Douglas County. Information, 782-8692.