By Sue Tiffin
I suppose someone, somewhere – perhaps it was you – put their Christmas decorations up, signalling that it was time for the snow to fall and stick.
And so, here we are, a few weeks away from the holiday season wondering where the year went, especially if we’re still feeling a bit foggy about what year it is, at this point. There will be hustle and bustle, much merriment that events are cautiously filling our calendars again, kids jingle belling … and people who desperately need help.
While the most important thing we can do to help is vote in the best interests of the most vulnerable people, and then hold those elected accountable to make real change happen in our communities, there are other things we can do on a grassroots level to help support our neighbours in their day-to-day lives and at this time of year. It is what people in small towns do best, besides wave at strangers and nod our heads at people while driving.
As Christmas events ramp up throughout the county, so do the opportunities to give to those in need through fundraisers like online auctions, the food bank’s Christmas hamper program, initiatives popping up on social media from local businesses, and next weekend’s Shindig which you can watch in person or at home.
But there are other ways to help, too. If you can spare some time, think of someone you might be able to reach out to at this time of year. Besides making loneliness feel a little bit more lonely, the darker days of this season can wreak havoc on mental health and well-being. Phone, send a little pick-me-up, let someone know you were thinking of them. Listen to them, in case you’re the only one who does.
Make food, buy food, order food and drop it off to someone when they’re not expecting it – everything about food can be overwhelming for people who are feeling overwhelmed, from grocery shopping safely during a pandemic, to being able to afford healthy options, to preparing it and making a meal for one, or the same meal again for what might feel like a lot, at dinnertime.
Shovel someone’s driveway or pay someone to shovel someone’s driveway if you’re not up to it. Send greeting cards again, if it’s something you used to love to do that’s lapsed. Drop a book off to a friend you haven’t seen for a long time. Be kind to others, and while you’re at it, be kind to yourself, too.
You might not have known that by putting your decorations up, you possibly brought on the snow. But it is certain that one person doing one small thing for someone else can make a very big difference.