Back in November, as the holiday season was kicking into high gear, we urged readers to remember that the holidays are a time of joy, but also a time of need. You have definitely done so.
Every week for the past two months or so, we have received news of organizations, businesses, schools and individuals who are opening their arms — and their wallets — to help those in less than ideal circumstances.
There were the big events, like the Community Halloween Party, Gobble Gait, the Holiday Train and Project Share. There were less visible but highly effective efforts like 10 Days of Giving, Give to the Max Day and Swipe Out Hunger. There were individual efforts, like the student who organized a Giving Tree and the local farm family that used holiday lights to inspire people to give. There were countless organizations collecting food, funds, toys, pajamas and all sorts of much needed items all across the city.
And Hastings, you stepped up. Every time we heard about a new fundraiser, we also heard about how successful it was. Thousands of dollars here. Hundreds there. Pounds and pounds of food and clothing and basic necessities like toothpaste and toilet paper have been donated over the past few weeks. We had a chat with the folks down at Hastings Family Service last week, as they were in the midst of their Project Share distribution, and even they were just blown away by the number of people going out of their way to help. There was even a group that came in to donate while we were there.
Today, many of our readers are settling down with their families to celebrate Christmas. Many of them are celebrating by exchanging gifts. But if you ask us, the people of Hastings have already given a gift that can't be wrapped up and tucked under a tree: compassion.