The traditional start of the Christmas shopping season has begun.
As residents fill area stores looking for those perfect gifts, we ask that they also take the opportunity to remember their neighbors who are less fortunate this year, and as they walk by a red kettle, make a donation to it.
Today is the perfect day to make a difference in someone's life by that donation.
Maj. Craig Stoker of the Salvation Army said "cash donations are critical this year, both in the red kettles and through the Christmas mail appeals." In addition, a number of groups and service organizations support the club's efforts each holiday season.
Stoker said statewide non-governmental utility assistance has been slashed, and thus assistance for electric and natural gas will be less than half of what was used last winter. That alone will have a significant impact on local assistance efforts in the months ahead.
This year the Salvation Army hopes to raise $166,000 through holiday fundraising efforts. If successful, that would provide a third of the organization's revenue for the next year toward emergency assistance and youth programming.
You can help.
If you're one of the many who will be "out and about" the town this weekend, don't miss the opportunity to make someone smile multi-times. A few coins and bills in a red kettle as you walk by will get you a smile from the bell ringer, the eventual recepient of your generosity, and of course you.
We think that's a smart investment with a whole lot of return.