Sour Grapes and Saddle Sores
George Hirst
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
January 13, 2005

This Christmas past I listened and watched as our communities organized to give toys to needy children. The response was as usual very strong. The appeal touched the hearts of people and so they were generous. During the winter holidays appeals to help the needy are always made and people respond well.

It is has been my experience that most givers respond to a particular appeal but do not support a fund that helps all the year around. It is also been my observation that the response comes from a sense of pity or a judgment of failure.

I am convinced that the earthquake in the Indian Ocean on December 26th and the tsunami that followed will forever change the way the world treats needy people. The efforts to meet the emergency needs and the clear understanding that rebuilding and restoration of lives and the rebuilding of the infrastructure will take years and require a continuous support from all over the world.

This support has been practiced by a lot of people. There are persons who give time and money simply because they want to help their neighbors. Jesus the Christ gave us two commandments, to love God with all our hearts and our neighbor as we love ourselves. Helping the neighbor is the way we fulfill the second commandment Christ gave His followers.

There are agencies who take that time and those dollars and work to relieve suffering as best they can. "Giving is its own reward." So spoke the Secret Santa. He was right. The gift that keeps on giving is that one that is given to help. The need is not questioned and the benefit is in the act of giving.

Three volunteer groups have been at work in Stark County for some years. Resource House, The Good Samaritan Fund, and The Salvation Army all assist persons in need year around and for all sorts of reasons. These groups are a demonstration of how the support for the tsunami victims will be supported.

As people of the 21st century, we ought to remember that persons who need help are not objects but neighbors. Laura Ballentine and Marie Wheeler of Resource House are not paid, neither is The Rev. Albert Harmon, Treasurer of The Salvation Army in Stark County. The Directors of Good Samaritan receive no salary. Dollars given go one hundred percent to help people.

I urge you all to create a place in your lives where you regularly give support to your neighbors who need help all year around. The gift may be kept at your comfort level and to a place and at a time where you feel right about giving support. The need is not questioned. The willingness to help others at all times is important.

I really believe that we will change the world in its treatment of people if each of us take this matter seriously. The people who are in charge of Stark County assistance are dedicated and open to giving help. They are to be trusted. We need to be faithful in our giving for others.

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