'Tis the season.
Wait, wait. Before you begin to put me into the camp of those pushing the Christmas holiday season further and further up the calendar, let me clarify.
While I do have Christmas in mind, I also have a great deal of thanksgiving in my heart.
That's because last week we kicked off the annual Holiday Family Adoption program. It's a wonderful collaboration between the great citizens and business of Spencer and the surrounding area, and those in need in our community. The Daily Reporter is just the middle-man, bringing the two groups together and helping to make the holidays bright.
The program is a high point of the year for me, and reminds me over and over again how much I have to be thankful for.
I'm thankful to live in a community filled with so much compassion and warmth.
I'm thankful for the great ladies at Upper Des Moines Opportunity who are so dedicated to helping those in need.
I'm thankful for our area volunteer fire men and women who give up their time during this busy season to deliver gifts.
I'm thankful for the overwhelming spirit of giving that pushes so many to volunteer with our effort.
So really, the season I celebrate today isn't Christmas, it's Thanksgiving.
While our first list of 25 families and individuals was published late last week, we will continue to add to that list over the days and weeks ahead. As a rule of thumb, the program usually matches up between 85-100 individuals and families with donors each holiday season. That's a lot of goodwill!
The need is great.
Last week, the Brookings Institution, an independent research group, found the populations of extreme poverty neighborhoods grew by one-third over the past decade. The Midwest led all other regions for growth in pockets of poverty, where at least 40 percent of the individuals live below the federal poverty line, defined at an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four.
One of those in need might be a neighbor, a friend, your child's best friend, a member of your church.
I want to encourage everyone who can, in this season of thanksgiving, to share their blessings with others.
It's election day.
That means get out to vote.
And, when you're done voting, I want to make a shameless plug that you head on over to Everly for the annual Hope Lutheran Church youth soup and pie supper. The annual event runs from 5-8 p.m. tonight at the church. As a mother of a Hope Lutheran Church youth, and organizer for the event, I can tell you it's a must-attend.
It's got soup - yummy vegetable beef and chili.
It's got fresh, delicious breadsticks.
And, best of all, it's got pie. Authentic, Lutheran church women's pie.
Do your democratic duty. Vote.
Then come and have some soup!