Give this season

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Once again, it is that very important time of year that we avow our thanks that we live in Juneau and enjoy the many blessings our community affords. One way to express our gratitude is to be aware of those who are in need. As the holidays unfold and the temperatures drop to winter solstice levels, we should reflect on and give support to the social service agencies under the umbrella of our United Way.

The United Way of Southeast Alaska advertises the need for - and channels human and material welfare for - 37 organizations that reflect a wide diversity of life in the panhandle. Some of their agencies aid the hungry, the uneducated and unskilled, numbers of youths seeking recreation and mentoring, and adults facing the uncertainties of aging.

Other associations help homeless families and individuals looking for safe shelters, and women and children in harms way. The United Way directors and administrators crafted a plan of assistance to help homeowners and businesses cope with astronomically high electricity charges resulting from the hydropower line disruption in the late spring of this year. A list of the United Way successes is too numerous to list, if known.

As you enter the year's closing holidays, please consider adopting Mother Nature's (or her male counterpart: The Green Man) extravagance that is witnessed in numerous beautiful sunsets, or germinating millions of seeds for plant growth, or sending countless waves crashing to shore.

"Yes, but," you say, "I have been taught to be frugal to save our resources in uncertain times. The Great Depression and the terror of 9/11 were harbingers of troubles ahead."

To counter this reasoning, we now have to put aside perceived thoughts of sinful spending and the lamentations of economic extravagance by the charitable giving that is within our powers - that of hospitality, service, sacrifice, love and - yes - money. Generous giving begets real gratitude, and gratitude goes hand in hand with joy. For the thrill of this, try Nature's way this holiday season. Be extravagant. Give gratitude. Give yourself. So sayest Genevieve Callahan (the noted 1930s writer and philosopher). "Yea verily" say the United Way agencies.

Lawrence Lee Oldaker

Campaign chairman, United Way of Southeast Alaska


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