Bonnie Bing: Giving to others is the best gift you can give yourself

12/09/2012 7:44 AM

12/09/2012 7:44 AM

It’s true that this is the time of year people go a little nuts.

Some camp outside a store to get in the door first seeking a bargain. Others get impatient when they can’t find a parking place at the mall and infuriated when someone beats them to the last spot.

Fortunately it’s also that time of year we pause to be thankful. It’s a season that highlights our good fortune. When we get in the spirit of the season, the infectious kindness and generosity become the best parts of the holidays.

Read the "Share the Season" stories in this newspaper and you’ll realize once again how lucky we are that things are manageable and happy under our own roofs.

Had a flat tire today? At least you have a car that runs. Sick of taking pills? At least you can afford to buy them. With gratitude comes the desire to help those who are having a tough time, especially at this particular time of year. It’s easy to help out, but also easy to put it off.

But today is the day! As I started writing this, I thought, “Oh good grief! I’ve been running around town publicizing Share the Season and I haven’t sent them any money this year.” So I stopped after the first paragraph and got that taken care of. And even I, a person who is the opposite of a computer geek, was able to get it done online.

I’ve been the "official spokesperson" for Share the Season for many years. It began in 2000 when the Salvation Army, the Wichita Community Foundation and The Wichita Eagle joined forces and built a strong project. It is one that has grown every year in donors and families helped and is now recognized as an important annual community event.

When the economy tanked, people who had never asked for help in their entire lives asked for help and got it. The next year when things were a bit better, many of those people made donations to help others, and that continues to happen. The list of donors grows daily.

The applications for help continue to arrive. And by the end of the Share the Season timeline, we can celebrate that members of the Wichita community have once again shared. They’ve helped their fellow Wichitans who were not eligible for aid at any other agency. Citizens who didn’t need a handout but a hand up so they could enjoy the holidays in a home with heat. They were able to purchase necessary medicine. Make a mortgage payment. Get the car repaired. And get many other things that are difficult to acquire when you’ve had a temporary setback. This one-time help to people in the category of the "working poor" smoothes that bump in the road of life.

And not a single donated dollar goes anywhere but to the families in need.

This time of year there are many requests to the many charitable agencies in our area for donations of money, toys, food, coats, etc.

All agencies have their wish lists, which makes it easy to find one that suits you.

So let’s give of our time, our treasure and our talents to make this a wonderful season for those outside our circle of family and friends.

It’s the best gift you can give yourself.

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