What’s worrying you this holiday?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Worried about finding that perfect gift? Fretting over the Christmas dinner details?

How about trying to scrounge up $150 to buy the minimum load of butane sold so that the temperature inside your house isn’t the same as it is outside.

That last worry may not apply to you, but it is the Christmas story of at least one area resident.

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The lady contacted Catholic Charities Monday seeking whatever help she could get.

And she’s not alone. Local non-profits that provide assistance with the necessities of life have all seen an increase in requests for help this year.

Catholic Charities has a list of 90 children for which there may be no Christmas presents this year.

Vidalia Feed the Hungry has more patrons and less food to give away.

We’ve even received inquiries for help here at the newspaper. One reader sent us a note asking for assistance for her recently laid-off mother in Vidalia who has no heat in her house that is in need of electrical repairs.

But help is all around.

As a long-time resident said to me in a note this week, Natchez is usually generous when specific needs are known.

Our newspaper has tried to share some of those specific needs in a series of stories call Season of Wishes. The stories have highlighted one non-profit agency a day for 17 days. We have one more story to go.

At least one agency with a very specific request saw almost immediate help once their need was publicized. Pleasant Acre Day School asked for help repairing a broken gate on a fence around the property. Calls and donations flooded in, and the gate is now fixed.

Junior Auxiliary has also seen great response to its annual Christmas Angel Tree. Tuesday morning only 17 of an original 166 angels remained.

The tree full of ornaments bearing the names of area children in need of Christmas gifts will be up until Friday.

The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office is also always successful in collecting bikes and bike parts to provide needy children with a special present.

The Children’s Christmas Tree Fund has received $2,020 in donations, but money is still coming in. Those dollars will be used to purchase toys given away to needy children on Christmas Eve.

Specific needs are all around us, and iPad, Xbox and laptop aren’t among them.

Your own family’s Christmas wish list may be the most important thing to you, but we all need to remember greater needs exist all around us.

Natchez has a history of being generous when the needs are known.

If everyone who is able skips one dish on the Christmas dinner table, opts for the iPod instead of the iPod Touch and avoids a few lunches out between now and New Year’s, the needs of our community could easily be met for December.

The economy worries us all, but it significantly affects daily living for just a few among us.

We know the needs. Let’s figure out how we can meet them and teach our children a thing or two about the true meaning of Christmas along the way.

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.