My Turn: The power of a small community is great | SierraSun.com

My Turn: The power of a small community is great

Katie Shaffer

Truckee may not be the small town it used to be, but it’s still a cohesive community with an amazing ability to wield many times its size in power when it comes to our capacity to pitch in, lend a hand, and show how much we care about each other.It’s the power of this community that so many of us have been moved by, many times over. We’ve all witnessed what happens in Truckee when tragedy strikes. Our friends and neighbors come out in droves to provide love and care in the form of cooking, cleaning, or organizing fundraisers, all undertaken with the hope that these small acts of concern can somehow provide comfort and ultimately, help us move past the hurt and onto healing.It’s no different at Christmas time. There are individuals and families who live in our midst, just down the street in fact, who have basic needs that are not being met. It might be a young man who needs your gently used, warm coat. It might be a senior who needs some firewood stacked. It might be a brother and sister who are hungry. There are many of us who want to help.That opportunity is ours to act upon once again in the coming weeks. We can stretch our holiday budget or make room on our busy December calendars and make a difference for a local family or individual in need, through one or more of the Truckee Community Christmas efforts that are currently under way. When you’re shopping at Safeway or Save Mart, look for the food barrels and pick up a few extra nonperishable items to donate. If you’re taking your child Christmas shopping, have them choose a toy for a local child that’s less fortunate. There are many toy collection barrel locations all over town.Remembering our seniors takes a little more effort. Call the Adopt-A-Senior program chair (Patti Bena at 587-4550) and find out what simple wishes are needed by our area elderly. Or clean out your closet and drop off that dated but perfectly good coat at Church of the Mountains on Church Street in downtown Truckee or at any Coldwell Banker real estate office. If you would like to be part of the virtual army that wraps, sorts, packs and distributes all the donations, volunteers are needed for December 20-22 at Sierra Mountain Middle School. Cash donations are also gratefully accepted. You can specify that you want your donation to go to Truckee Community Christmas through Gifts For Good, or call the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce (587-2757) for information about any of these programs.Another resource to check out for an overview of information on all these efforts is the weekly update found on the Community page in the Sierra Sun’s Thursday edition, running each week from now until Christmas.Fourteen years after it originally got off the ground, Truckee Community Christmas is still going strong. Formed to serve as an umbrella organization to coordinate the various food, toy and clothing drives in place, they have been making sure that those in our community that need the most help, from infants to seniors, receive it during the holiday season.Truckee Community Christmas is all about small gestures from many which become a larger helping hand. Take part in one of the programs mentioned above and feel the power of this community swell in your heart just a little bit more. Katie Shaffer is a Truckee resident. A regular Sierra Sun columnist from 1998-2005, she occasionally contributes freelance pieces. You can reach Shaffer at kgshaffer@sbcglobal.net.