A time to give

Published 1:02 pm Saturday, November 29, 2008

By Staff
Don’t have much extra money this Christmas season to donate to charities? Don’t let that be a stumbling block to helping organizations such as The Salvation Army or the American Red Cross.
Instead of donating money to The Salvation Army or the like, consider donating time as a volunteer. With its Operation Christmas Cheer kicking off later this week, The Salvation Army likely could use some volunteers to help with that charitable program. As for the organization’s Red Kettle Campaign, taking a cup of hot chocolate or coffee to bell-ringers at the Red Kettle collection sites would be an appreciated gesture during those cold days and nights as the bell-ringers seek donations to help feed poor families.
There is always the gift of life — blood. At least 10 opportunities for area residents to donate blood are scheduled for December in Beaufort County. Blood drives are slated for area schools, churches, businesses, civic clubs, fire departments and government agencies. There are many reasons to give blood, including the following ones:
According to the American Red Cross’ Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region, in which northeastern North Carolina is located, supplies of blood types O positive and B negative are critically low. The supplies of A positive, B positive, O negative and A negative blood types are low. The Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region supplies blood to hospitals in eastern North Carolina and central and eastern Virginia. It collected more than 160,000 blood donations last year, and the need for blood increases every year.
Area residents with little money but plenty of time to serve as volunteers may want to consider contacting area schools, social-service agencies, Beaufort County Medical Center and charities such as Eagle’s Wings, which are on the lookout for volunteers. A person who volunteers to read to elementary-school students or patients in a hospital provides a wonderful gift.
An electrician or carpenter who provides several hours of free labor to a nonprofit organization that works with the area’s poor population to make their lives better will find his or her work greatly appreciated and his or her skills in great demand. That free labor means a nonprofit has that much more money to spend on its clients instead of maintenance.
Try baking some goodies and distribute them to people who work on Christmas. Several dozen cookies for firefighters who are spending the day away from their families would be appreciated by them. A red-velvet cake dropped off at the police station or sheriff’s office will bring smiles to those on duty that day.
Although purses and wallets may not be as full this Christmas season as they were last Christmas season, that’s not a reason not to give. Some of the best gifts this Christmas will come from the heart, not the checkbook.
Give of yourself. It is one of the best gifts that others can receive.