Our View: ‘Tis the season to give | SteamboatToday.com
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Our View: ‘Tis the season to give

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas rush — putting up the tree, stringing the house with lights and filling wish lists for family and friends. But in the middle of all the excitement, it’s important to slow down, take a deep breath and really grasp the meaning of the season.

At the very heart of the holidays — from Thanksgiving to Hanukkah to Christmas — lies the spirit of giving. And real giving goes beyond our own homes and families. It involves seeing, and then meeting, the needs of the less fortunate who live all around us.

Residents living in communities throughout Routt County have a habit of taking care of one another. This willingness to offer others a hand up can be witnessed at LIFT-UP of Routt County’s area food pantries or through the work being done by mentors involved in the Partners in Routt County program. The sheer number of nonprofits that exist locally is a testament to this community’s willingness to help others in their time of need.

One program that epitomizes the spirit of giving is the annual Holiday Wishes program. This year, program volunteers have been working hard to collect gifts for more than 400 local families who were selected by Routt County United Way. For the past two Fridays and Saturdays, members of the Young Professionals Network, the Rotary Club and Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue stood outside Walmart to collect gifts, which will be wrapped and distributed to local families.

In addition to the community gift collection effort, individuals, families and businesses have adopted families on their own, and many have chosen to forgo expensive presents for their own friends and family and use that money instead to purchase gifts for needy families.

Those who adopt a family receive a list of what each family member wants, and the items on those lists can be eye-opening. Very few families are asking for iPods and Xboxes and expensive gadgets, instead, many of the items on the lists are basic essentials, like coats, gloves, boots and blankets.

The Holiday Wishes program will culminate in a huge communitywide party held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Howelsen Hill. The celebration is free, and there will be caroling, visits with Santa, sleigh rides, tubing and snacks.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today encourages local residents to join the Holiday Wishes effort by donating gifts and money or volunteering time to help with the event. A full list of gift and volunteer needs can be found at http://www.steamboat

giving.com.

Another great way to make an impact this holiday season is to donate to nonprofit organizations. There are many people in this community who have made it a holiday tradition to donate to a charity in the name of their friends or families in lieu of buying gifts.

This Tuesday, a dozen local nonprofits will be participating in Colorado Gives Day — a 24-hour effort promoting the philosophy of “give where you live” by asking people to make online donations to the local charities participating in the campaign. Last year, $15.4 million was raised statewide.

This is a great opportunity to give, and if your favorite nonprofit is not participating in Colorado Gives Day, encourage it to get involved next year and make a direct donation to your charity of choice this holiday season. To participate in the Colorado Gives Day effort, visit http://www.coloradogives.org on Tuesday.

Tarsha Ebbern, of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, summed up the value of giving to nonprofits at Christmastime. “To put it simply, giving where you live is as valuable as shopping where you live this holiday season.”

Gifts to local charities, along with support for programs like Holiday Wishes, enrich the lives of our friends, families and neighbors and, in turn, allow the givers to experience the true spirit of the season.


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