My Turn: Calling all joyful givers | SierraSun.com

My Turn: Calling all joyful givers

Katie Shaffer
Sierraville

In a town like Truckee, locals receive requests for contributions throughout the year. The communities at the lake are no different. Whether a fundraising effort is successful or not can sometimes come down to how people feel about the cause, not to mention, how they feel about their finances. There are those who feel a grudge at being asked, and there are those who give joyfully.

If you’ve ever been a parent, here’s a scenario that you may be able to relate to:

First, you find out that your child made the school sports team. Accompanying this exciting news is a bill, usually due in a matter of days. In order for your child to play, you owe $150 for a “per-sport” fee. No sooner have you written that check, when there’s some parent who comes up with a fundraising idea to put together a keepsake program, and guess what? Your child is required to sell an ad!

While a few bosses, neighbors and family friends contribute to the cause, it’s mostly the parents who fork up yet another $50 to buy an ad the size of a business card. I’m able to poke fun at this scheme largely because, yes, that was me, putting together a Truckee High School girls’ soccer program that reached the wide audience of parents (and some friends and family) who attended a few, select home games.

We even had the nerve to charge sports fans to purchase the program at the stadium entry gate (further gouging these same parents one final time), all in the name of supporting our awesome young athletes. Despite the fact that I fielded a few complaints, the eternal optimist in me was grateful to the many adults who provided support by simply giving with a joyful heart.

It’s the joyful giver, versus the “Debbie-Downers” of SNL fame, that this column is addressed to, and who I am asking to dig a little deeper in your pockets this season, remembering our neighbors who are in need.

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The Truckee Community Christmas board of directors works with local social workers and agencies to screen and identify those truly in need, to make sure that folks aren’t pulling up in spiffy vehicles and collecting free coats, gifts and food. This hardworking and reputable organization has been serving the community for the past fifteen years, coordinating efforts between a number of independent groups that collect toys, gifts for seniors, gently-used warm coats, and food.

During your excursions to the local grocery stores in the coming weeks, I hope that you can make a decision to be a joyful giver, despite our rocky economy. Perhaps you can plan a cheap dinner for your household in order to afford a second inexpensive dinner for a family that really needs it.

I hope you’ll join me in placing donations in the food and toy collection barrels placed around town, or adopting a senior (call Patti Bena at 587-4550) or cleaning out your front hall closet and dropping off coats that your family members no longer wear at Church of the Mountains, located on Church Street in downtown Truckee across from the Community Center. There’s a coat collection barrel placed outside the church doors, under the covered porch.

Even though we each have our own cost-cutting measures in place for the holiday, we can make a positive impact that benefits our community’s less- fortunate folks by coming together as a group of joyful givers. Deciding to provide very basic items such as food and clothing for our neighbors who are struggling is a choice we can collectively make.

Thinking in terms of abundance rather than in terms of scarcity helps those who are giving and those who receive. As many of us know, caring for our neighbors is a big part of what we experience living in this wonderful place. It just so happens that the holidays provide us with yet another opportunity to feel good!