he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means
a little bit more!"
Formerly homeless, and a mother of five, Sue Cobley took a difficult personal situation and turned it into a blessing for others in the same plight. Hunger in Idaho is not confined to larger communities: the seasonal soup kitchen in Salmon, the Challah Community Kitchen, serves an average of 50 meals every Saturday.
Salmon resident Deborah Unruh felt called to meet a challenge facing many individuals and families in this and other small towns with natural resource-based economies-seasonal employment makes for lean winter months. Service comes in a different flavor for Coeur d'Alene residents Ron and Marian Catlin, who volunteer as "Goodwill Ambassadors" for the Coeur d'Alene Police Department.
They visit businesses, fostering positive relations between
owners and patrons and the police department. All these Idahoans reach
out their hands and hearts in service. They are not alone-Idaho communities
boast countless stories of service--people helping the homeless, the
abused, children, the disadvantaged, the indigent, the elderly and the
community as a whole.
It doesn't take a full bank account, multiple community connections or even large blocks of free time to make a difference. In fact, many people who extend themselves do so on limited budgets of time and money. It's remarkably easy to reach out to others this holiday season.
From spending a few hours at your local soup kitchen, food bank or shelter to organizing a community drive to help people in need, opportunities for service abound.
Just before Thanksgiving, students and teachers at Hawthorne Middle School in Pocatello, and Weiser School District employees both gathered items to send to troops in Iraq--something that other schools and communities in Idaho have also done over the past three years. Toys for Tots and The Salvation Army bell ringers are familiar holiday sights; helping them is very simple.
Service can even take the form of recycling and donating
used clothing, computers, furniture and appliances. Goodwill, The Salvation
Army and other national and local organizations always need donations
of quality items families no longer use. You can also support our troops
this holiday season. In November 2004, the Department of Defense launched
"America Supports You," designed to recognize and facilitate
Local, state and national groups register to be listed
at the "America Supports You"
Whether you are in uniform or not, make this season a season of service. You stand to gain as much or more than those you will be helping.