Archived Story

The needs are right here in our community

Published 9:48am Monday, December 16, 2013

Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf

It’s the week before Christmas and all through the house, my cats are stirring, having to trade the tree for a stuffed mouse.

Yes, I finally gave in and took our big tree down and put a little tree in its place. I decided it was more important for my cats to be safe, my stress to be lower and not worry about the trappings of the season.

Recently I have been doing some freelance work for area newspapers. I have interviewed and wrote stories of people who usually don’t make the newspaper. I also have told the stories about groups that spend time making Christmas a little merrier for others. In the midst of these stories I have met some beautiful people whose hearts touch all those around them because of what they give to others.

There are so many wonderful groups of people working hard all year long, but during the holiday season people seem to pay more attention to giving. I want to highlight a few of these groups in our area.

Sub Santa’s or Giving Trees: These provide gifts for children and families that otherwise would not have a gift under the tree. We take for granted that everyone can celebrate Christmas the way we do.

Area food shelves: The need is great. Most of us run to the store and don’t think too much about picking up something extra off of the shelves. Pick up a little extra and donate it to your local food shelf.

The backpack programs in area schools: This program sees that children have some food for the weekend when school is out. Find an area program and help them keep the kids fed.

Loaves and Fishes and other programs that feed people daily to see that they get a hot meal: Find a program in your area and ask what they need. They might need a volunteer or a donation.

Everywhere you look during the Christmas season you will see the Salvation Army bell-ringers. These volunteers are out there raising money so that the Salvation Army can help people all year long.

I had a conversation with a bell-ringer one day. He and I were chatting about the good that the Salvation Army does, and I explained that I support and donate to a part of the Salvation Army each month called The Bed and Bread Club in our area. This club shelters the homeless, many of whom are women and children, and feeds the hungry. This bell-ringer could not believe that we have homeless in our area. So many times we think the need is in bigger cities, but it is right here where we live, hidden among the hustle and bustle of our world.

I have heard the comments: It never used to be like that. What has happened that we have so many hungry and so many homeless.

I don’t have the answer. Perhaps the hungry and the homeless always existed, but we didn’t know about it, because it was kept hidden and we didn’t have the media coverage we have today.

People possibly privately helped those in need. Perhaps the hungry and the homeless scraped by without help or maybe they didn’t scrape by, maybe they ceased to exist and we didn’t notice.

Look beyond the brilliant decorations. Look in between the glittering lights. See those who are in need and then see those who are helping those in need. Ask your heart what you can do, not just now at this time of year, but all year long.

“There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.” — Jan Schakowsky


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at Her Facebook page is