Need is not a hard word to understand.
It is, however, a tough word to learn to live with.
Across the region there are many "needy" people. Some have lived their lives in need, others are just discovering what their world is like and how it now applies to them.
The Christmas season is an opportunity for common Joe and Janes - people like you and me - to make a difference for our brothers and sisters in need.
I've shared with you in the past that personally, I'm a sucker for red kettles. The ding-a-ling of bell ringers next to the kettles warms my soul and softens my heart. As I grow older, I seem to be moved by the red kettle appeal all the more.
Maj. Craig Stoker of the Salvation Army of Alpena County said this year the Christmas goal is $166,900. Funds raised will be used to provide Christmas food baskets to needy families including an assortment of toys, winter hats, scarves and mittens. Other gifts also will be made available to the families.
Gifts also are purchased and distributed to area nursing homes, with any remaining funds used to assist families throughout the year with utilities, rent, prescriptions, food and transportation.
Last year the Salvation Army's goal was $166,000, two years ago it was $158,000.
Obviously, the need is not going away.
That is where you and I come in.
Thursday I sat and meditated on the many blessings in my life. As I did, I was reminded of the many reasons I have to get out of bed each morning. My life, like yours, is far from perfect but it is filled with an abundance of blessings.
As such, I would be foolish not to share my bounty with others.
Since my cup, so to speak, runneth over, I believe I have a responsibility, a moral obligation and a neighborly opportunity to share God's grace in my life with others. As such, Diane and I every Christmas season adopt special causes to support.
Support can take on many different looks. For some, support comes in the way of monetary donations. For others, it can be volunteering time or talent.
One thing is for sure, the need is great.
So whether it's reading a book to an older resident at a nursing home, feeding dogs and cats at the animal shelter, ringing bells next to red kettle or purchasing gifts for "adopted families" over the holidays, it all helps make a difference.
One by one, little by little, step by step together, we can impact our region for the better.
Join with me and let's strive to address the needs across Northeast Michigan this Christmas season.
Maybe, just maybe, if we're successful, next year's Salvation Army goal might decrease instead of increase.
Wouldn't that be wonderful!