Christmas is a time of giving. The holiday season traditionally begins on Thanksgiving, when most of us count the many blessings we enjoy.
Tragedy and loss know no season, however, and some of our neighbors are struggling, even during these days of plenty.
Some Rio Grande Valley residents especially are still recovering from devastating losses caused by summer storms and other recent events. The floodwaters might have subsided, but the arduous task of rebuilding damaged homes, and lives, will continue for much longer.
These difficulties inspired the most recent effort sponsored by AIM Charities, the community assistance arm of this newspaper’s parent company. AIM Media Texas officials, working with the United Way of South Texas, identified several families in the region who were struggling to make ends meet. For nearly two weeks this month, families were profiled in The Monitor and readers were encouraged to contact the United Way of South Texas to offer help.
The response was heartwarming.
“We’re grateful for the generosity that was shown by so many people who reached out to those in need,” said Stephan Wingert, The Monitor’s publisher and editor and vice president at AIM Media Texas.
The United Way received $8,429.50 in monetary donations and even more in in-kind donations. They included $250 in food as well as blankets and clothes, toys and other household items including kitchen appliances, two full mattresses and two air mattresses. Assorted medical supplies including a wheelchair were received.
Moreover, a trailer home was donated and three families received help with home repairs.
One person even was offered employment.
“The United Way Board of Directors and staff are incredibly grateful to The Monitor and community for expressing their support through donations, and well wishes for the families featured,” said Lilly Lopez-Killelea, United Way of South Texas president. “Thank you also to the volunteers and counselors who took the time and effort to make sure these families received support through the Spirit of Christmas Program.”
This was just one of many campaigns through which Valley residents have helped, and continue to help, people who are having a tough time during the holidays. People have donated to food, clothing and toy drives, organized by major organizations and neighborhood residents, to help less-fortunate neighbors have the traditional blessings of the holiday season. From major donations to a small addition to the tab at local store or restaurant cash registers, people have shared whatever they could to make the times easier for others. In all, 13 families received assistance through the campaign.
We join all those who express heartfelt thanks to the many Valley residents who continue to show selflessness and give of themselves to help their neighbors in times of need.