It's true, Christmas is different here in SW Nebraska. Most folks around here are not pushy in the stores, genuinely smile when your eyes meet, and once you get a few miles outside of McCook, just about everybody driving down the road will give you that one finger wave we seem to be good at. OK, so we wave when it's not Christmas too, but the point is people act differently here towards each other than in most other places I've been, and Christmas seems to make it even more notable.
The sad thing is that there are some folks out there that are having really tough times. We read about the number of poor rising in this country, but most probably don't think much about the people behind the numbers.
Here in Cambridge, there are kids that don't get enough to eat. There are programs to help, and a food pantry stocked with food. Problem I've heard is that the stigma from using these programs and services around here forces folks to go to other towns for assistance, or not seek help at all.
You don't suppose that stigma could be because of the attitude of many of those that don't need the help do you? What is your first thought when you think "assistance"? Do you think freeloader, or do you consider the situation at all. If you read the Gazette blog sections, you can easily see why folks around here might think anyone needing assistance is a freeloader.
We hear of fund raising benefits all the time in this area to help someone with a devastating disease or the victim of an accident. Folks turn out for these events, but the underlying need doesn't go away after the food is gone. Even if that benefit earned $10,000, and I bet few of them do, it's a drop in the medical expense bucket when serious health issues arise.
As we move into a new year, I hope we can all carry the Spirit of Christmas with us in a new found way. That we don't look down our nose at those in need, but offer a helping hand whenever we can. There is a lot of need, and you can help someone somehow.
Without Easter, there would be no Christmas, so Merry Christmas Everyone!