Grant a wish this holiday season

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hundreds of local residents hope you’ll cut into the turkey and crack open the checkbook this week.

The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are crucial ones for area non-profit agencies that rely on community donations to survive.

For some non-profits — such as the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund and the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office bike project — Christmas is their only true season for collection and service.

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Others — such as Habitat for Humanity and the Sunshine Children’s Center — must function year round.

But it’s holiday giving that keeps the doors open in July, directors will tell you.

“It pretty much makes our whole year,” Sunshine Center Director Matilda Stephens said of Christmas giving. “And I’m praying it does that this year.”

Sadly, many of us avoid thoughts of hungry, needy, joyless people for the majority of the year. It’s just not something you want to think about as you plan your summer vacation to Disney World.

But the thought of a child without a Christmas present or a family without a home becomes too much to bear when we enter the holiday season.

Christmas giving is something many of you will do in the coming weeks.

And hundreds in your own community will benefit.

Starting Sunday, each edition of The Democrat will include an article about an area non-profit agency in need of assistance.

The series of stories called Season of Wishes is something we’ve published for years.

We’ll include with each story an explanation of what the agency does, whom they help and how they spend monetary donations. We’ll also include a wish list from each agency outlining specific needs from luggage to dog food.

We currently have articles on 17 non-profits agencies planned, so you can certainly take your pick and donate to the cause nearest and dearest to your heart.

The agencies and the people — and animals — they help are counting on you.

This community has come through time and time again, just ask Stephens.

She remembers a time several years ago when several young siblings showed up at the shelter just days before Christmas.

The shelter wasn’t prepared to give the children a Christmas, but that didn’t stop someone in the community from making it happen.

“Word got out, and a couple from First Baptist Church in Vidalia heard. The husband drove to Monroe on the day before Christmas Eve to find a bike for this child.

“What people do during Christmas is amazing.”

And it should be.

Christmas isn’t about what we get, after all. It’s about the best gift imaginable; the one God already gave us.

If you have what you need this Christmas, consider giving to others.

The agencies that take care of so many in our community rely on you to take care of them.

You can grant a few wishes this holiday season.


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