Letter to the editor: A North Shore New Year's challenge
By: Jan O'Donnell, Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
Having Christmas and New Year's celebrations so close together seems to generate much pondering about life in our communities on the North Shore. No matter where you live up here, the generosity of our community at this time of year is heartwarming. Whether you live in Silver Bay, Finland, Two Harbors, or somewhere in between, you can't help but be touched by how much our communities care for those in need. Whether it involves school children donating to the local food shelf, families buying toys so that someone else’s children can have a happy Christmas, or visits made to neighbors to share holiday cheer, our communities thrive because of the ways in which people here express their caring and compassion.
The really amazing thing is that it doesn't just happen during the holiday season. Throughout the year many contribute financially to support community services, volunteers donate hundreds of hours of their time, and local businesses, again and again, support one cause and another, not an easy thing in our current economic times.
Maybe this generosity is not unique to the North Shore; I presume that it is not. But to me, it is one of the things that make living here so very special.
As we move toward a new year, I believe that we face even more challenges to this base of generosity. We all know about cuts in funding at every level. We all know people who are struggling to make ends meet. Our population is aging and the need for support of our older population is rising. So, maybe I am proposing a personal challenge to us all, each one of us.
Please consider these options in the New Year:
• Choose something that you regularly buy-- special coffee in the morning, one lunch out a week, a special treat—and opt to do without it. Take the money you would have spent and donate it to a local community agency.
• Consider donating every month as a tithe to your community.
• Each week volunteer some of your time to your community. Of course, you can call me for assistance in finding the right placement for you.
• Pick a neighbor that you have wanted to meet, but haven't yet. Knock on his or her door and introduce yourself. Knowing your neighbors brings the community closer together.
Even if you are already doing all of the above, consider doing more. It will only strengthen your connection to friends, neighbors and the broader community, while benefitting the community as a whole. And, keep a smile on your face for a stranger. It just reinforces the fact that this truly is a great place to live!
Jan O’Donnell is AEOA’s RSVP/NVC coordinator and a regular contributor to the Lake County News-Chronicle. If you want to volunteer, call her at 218-834-2280.