The best gift is to the less fortunate

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN GOV. BILL GRAVES
As we go about the daily tasks of gearing up for the holidays, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the fact that this time of year is not just about glitz and glitter, holiday parties and spending money.

More than ever before, it is important we make an extra effort to ensure that the commercial aspect of the holidays doesn’t overshadow the underlying true spirit of Christmas.

This time of year is a time for family, of togetherness, and most especially, a time of giving. And there are ways to give that don’t involve maxing out the credit cards, or battling the crowds on Main Street or at the mall. Giving of our time and resources sometimes takes a little extra thought and preparation, but it is energy well spent.

Although the holidays typically bring attention to individuals and families who need help, poverty is not a seasonal affliction. For some, it’s reality 365 days a year.

It is all too easy to take “home and hearth” for granted. Most Kansans don’t know what it’s like to go without. But there are many Kansans not as fortunate, and we don’t have to look very far to find organizations or individuals seeking our help. Our gift is the donation of our time, energy and resources.

These organizations don’t exist separate from our communities. If they did, the would have never gotten off the ground.

With our contributions, do we win every battle? Of course not. Do we encounter frustrations? Absolutely. Can we walk away? Knowing the spirit of Kansans, I believe I know the answer to that question. While singlehandedly trying to improve the lives of everyone who needs helps may seem like an endless endeavor, we can rejoice in smaller victories. Those little victories soon pile up- and before you know it, we are making a big difference.

Even in these difficult economic times, I have tremendous faith in the benevolence of the people of Kansas. I have seen it work small miracles all my life. That generosity, the feeling of neighbor helping neighbor, is one of the tangible qualities that makes our state such a great place to live.

Regardless of whether it’s a gift of our time or our money, a gift to those less fortunate is the very best gift we can give.

That is what we celebrate and what we commit ourselves to during the holidays.

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