When local residents learn about a need, they quickly rally to offer their support.
Lawrence residents (especially those who read the Journal-World!) are the best. In the course of a year there are a number of examples of people learning about the plight of someone who is less fortunate through a story in the Journal-World then stepping forward to offer a helping hand. Such acts of giving are especially common during the holiday season, and this week offered two outstanding examples.
On Monday, a brief item on page 1B noted that the people organizing the annual holiday dinner for Christmas Day needed about 30 turkeys to feed their expected crowd. By Tuesday, the dinner organizers had 22 donated turkeys in the freezer and pledges for 10 or 12 more. Plenty of turkey for the folks who will be served dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Thursday at the First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt.
In Tuesday's Journal-World, there was a roundup story about how various local agencies were doing at filling holiday needs for their clients. Although they were contacted 10 days before Christmas, most agencies said they already had been able to pair most of those in need of help with local groups or individuals willing to donate. One agency, however, still needed to find more people to "adopt" a family or individual for the holidays. Women's Transitional Care Services, which works with survivors of domestic violence, indicated it needed volunteers to help seven families.
The story ran in Tuesday morning's Journal-World. On Wednesday morning, a representative of WTCS said the response had been so overwhelming that the agency had been able to offer holiday assistance to three times the number of people it originally had planned to serve.
What a community. It warms the heart to know that when people in Lawrence become aware of a need, they are so willing to reach out and help.
The trick, of course, is to try to maintain that caring attitude throughout the year, not just reserve it for the holiday season. Many people want to make sure others are well-fed and have a gift to open at Christmas or Hanukkah, but many needs exist 365 days a year. People need food and shelter, they must pay utility bills to stay warm, they may need some help finding a job or getting back on their feet financially.
The community's experience at the holidays is a testament to the willingness of Lawrence people to help. Thanks to all those who reach out to others now and throughout the year.