Answering the call

Published 7:54 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Two weeks ago, a staff report ran on the front page of the Washington Daily News. The article was about how the local Salvation Army was concerned about fulfilling the Christmas wishes of 400 children: over 100 children’s Angel Tree wish lists hadn’t been adopted and with Dec. 12 deadline to return gifts looming, there had been little return for those whose had been.

For many children, programs like the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, Toys for Tots and Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children’s own Parents as Teachers angel tree are the only chance at a bright Christmas. Financially, these families are in positions where they must choose between Christmas toys for children or putting food on table, or paying the utilities. These programs allow them a brief respite, where they don’t have to choose because the greater community steps in to provide for their own.

That’s what happened two weeks ago, when the dire need for Salvation Army Angel Tree gifts became apparent. By 8 a.m. the morning after the article printed, the phone at the Salvation Army was ringing off the hook — people offering to donate money, toys, whatever was needed to fill the gaps. Getting the word out made a huge difference to the organization, but more importantly, will make an even greater difference in the lives of those children come Christmas morning.

The community stepped in to bolster a program that makes the lives of those with less, just a little bit more. But that’s what a community does — it helps when neighbors are in need. It provides when there are no provisions.

Those who answered the Salvation Army’s call should be commended, not only for their generosity, but for exemplifying the true meaning of Christmas.