BY TOM BUSSELBERG
First off, before I forget, Merry Christmas!
It’s my last chance to give our readers that salutation, because the paper will come out the day after Christmas, next week.
What a wonderful time of the year.
Despite my rantings against all the focus on shopping to the point of abusing others, there are a lot of people doing good deeds, especially this time of year.
Many of us tend to think beyond ourselves, at this magical time of year.
Even with Christmas so close, there is still time, and a need, to help, if you can.
The county’s biggest Sub for Santa effort is in dire need of toys. As of Monday, they had only one-fourth the number of last year at this time.
They’re anticipating serving at least 1,800 youngsters from birth to 17.
If kind donors could give new, unwrapped toys and such items as hoodies valued at no more than $20, that would be much appreciated. Gift cards are always popular.
I’m told people tend to donate more for the younger kids. After all, they’re cut and can be ever so sweet.
Those children in the adolescent stage of life often get overlooked. That’s the group most in need of toys.
Donations can be made through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., at 130 E. 100 North in Bountiful, or 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday in Clearfield at 1360 E. 1450 South, or the Family Connection Center Food Bank, 875 E. Highway 193, Layton, 8 a.m. to noon Thursday and Friday or from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
I personally know what a help Sub for Santa can be in a time of need.
Many years ago, I was working five part-time jobs, living in substandard conditions, and just didn’t have the money to buy my then two-young children Christmas toys.
The generosity of some Cache Valley folks, who filled the Logan Armory with toys, allowed me to pick a pirate ship for my son and doll for my daughter.
I was so grateful for that help, that boost.
Again, it wasn’t that I was lazy and didn’t work. The same could be said for most everybody signed up for Davis County’s Sub for Santa. Many have just come upon hard times, lost a job, or suffered serious, and often expensive, health problems.
I also want to put a plug in for another group that helps many hundreds of people who are in need every month: the Bountiful Community Food Pantry.
It’s operated by a nonprofit group, was started in a closet at the adjacent Bountiful Community Church.
Volunteers are what make the place hum, as they help the paid staff of 2 1/2 people.
I know that they try hard to meet the need, work closely with generous donors: thousands of residents who give through Boy Scout, Postal Carriers, and other drives or on their own; plus the Grocery Rescue program, which provides fresh produce, meat, bread, and a lot more on a weekly basis.
The Food Pantry now operates out of a 10,000 square-foot warehouse - a far cry from that closet of years ago.
But it’s not a Holiday Inn.
I say that because of one woman who complained to the Clipper that some patrons have to wait outside in the cold or heat before being served.
It’s unfortunate that anyone has to wait in the cold, an official at the pantry emphasized.
A hallway will be built, thanks to grant funding and hopefully more donations. But not for the next six months or so, I’m told.
People can wait in their cars, come on slower days, visit during evening hours on some days, even come on Saturdays. And, if they’re disabled or senior citizens, they can wait and share the limited space near the front counter.
And there’s always food available - no matter when a person in need comes. And food, in relatively generous amounts, can be obtained each week, rather than less often, as is the case at most pantries.
In short, I empathize with having to wait. But, my gosh, be grateful the pantry is even there. It’s not a right, but a gift, that is provided for the community.
That said, again, Merry Christmas!