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Chester County Press

Make this a season of giving

12/07/2015 06:28PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Signs of Christmas are everywhere this time of the year. Homes are decorated with Christmas lights. Christmas songs play endlessly, endlessly. The malls are filled with shoppers looking for the perfect gift for friends and family members. The packages from online orders are already arriving at doorsteps. There are Christmas cards to send and Christmas parties to attend. It's a joyous time of the year for many.

For millions of other Americans, however, the holidays aren't always so festive and bright. For families in need, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time, as they struggle to meet their day to day needs.

One out of every five Pennsylvania youngsters suffer from food uncertainty, which means that their families' financial situation is such that they don't know where the next meal may be coming from. During the winter months, some families routinely have to choose between heating their homes or buying groceries. The elderly also struggle to provide for their basic needs, or suffer from loneliness or depression this time of the year.

Many wonderful organizations are at work all year long to help families in need. In Southern Chester County, there are literally dozens of organizations that make it their mission to support those who need help.

If everyone in the community took a fraction of what they plan to spend on Christmas and donated it to one of the organizations that helps others, it would make a huge difference in the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people in the area.

The Chester County Food Bank, for example, provides food to thousands of people through a variety of programs. The Chester County Food Bank also works collaboratively with Kennett Area Community Services, which operates the Kennett Food Cupboard, as well as the Neighborhood Services Center in Oxford.

The Lighthouse Youth Center in Oxford provides free meals to youngsters, not to mention a safe, nurturing environment for the kids to spend time in after school. The Garage Youth and Community Centers in Kennett Square and West Grove also focus their efforts on helping young people in the community.

The Oxford Senior Center and Kennett Area Senior Center provide numerous programs that improve the lives of residents in the area.

Family Promise of Southern Chester County is in its first year of pulling together resources to help families in the area who are struggling to attain adequate shelter.

The southern Chester County community is also blessed by the presence of dozens of churches that work on a variety of programs that support those in need.

Then, of course, there's the United Way of Southern Chester County, which each year runs a tremendous campaign that collects, and then distributes, hundreds of thousands of dollars to dozens of organizations throughout southern Chester County. A gift to the United Way of Southern Chester County is a good way to support a lot of different organizations at once.

We encourage everyone who is able to do so to make this a season of giving. Support one of the aforementioned organizations, or another organization of your choice that is in the business of helping those in need.