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The holiday season presents opportunities for generosity

For many people, the holidays are a time to think not only of family and friends, but of giving back to those who are less fortunate.

There is no doubt that the spirit of giving closely relates to all time-honored holiday traditions, whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or others. This year, aside from exchanging gifts with family and friends, some will take a moment to consider those less fortunate and contemplate improving their own holiday season, as well.

With charitable organizations such as the American Red Cross, Operation Iraqi Children, Salvation Army, Giving Trees, Religious charities and the sponsorship of unfortunate children available to all citizens, it is easy to give to whomever one chooses.

Many people go shopping and see the traditional Salvation Army bell ringers, causing some to think about donating money. Some people, however, decide not to part with the change in their pockets.

Factual statistics about giving back are available to both types of people .

“The sponsorship of a child has become one of the most popular holiday gifts over the past few years,” said Martha Osborne of the Rainbow Kids Agency.

Natalie Mills, a freshman at the University, said supports those who are underprivileged.

For the price of a movie ticket, popcorn and a drink at a local movie theater, you can give a starving child in Africa enough food to last them through the holidays and well into the new year, Mills said.

Operation Iraqi Children and Operation Iraqi Soldiers are also organizations that benefit those families who will be separated over the holiday season.

While not poverty-ridden or at risk of starvation, there are families in the United States who will be having a holiday season without members of their families present. Many children of the those serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be without one of their parents this holiday season, and many soldiers will be without their families.

Citizens do, however, have the chance to thank both the soldiers and their families by assembling care packages or even donating a dollar to local businesses, such as Bowling Green’s local Dollar Tree, which sends gifts to children of soldiers.

Churches all over the United States, including some here in Bowling Green, will hold charity dinners throughout the holiday season to help local people who are less fortunate enjoy meals they may not be able to afford on their own.

“It’s something I’ve done for a long time, it’s a great chance to give back and help those who won’t be able to have the holiday feast that we do,” said Brienna Parks, an active member of the University’s Habitat for Humanity organization.

Here on campus, MacDonald residence hall is home to the Giving Tree, an organization where one can support the American Red Cross by purchasing a leaf for the tree. By paying the leaf’s $1 fee, students and community members have the chance, through the help of the Places of Hope International Organization, to benefit the lives and holidays of abandoned and abused children.

Osborne said she expects an increase in the number of donations during the holiday season, and several organizations have been established to help people do just that.

WAYS TO GIVE BACK:

American Red Cross

Operation Iraqi Children/Soldiers

Salvation Army

MacDonald Giving Tree

Sponsoring a Child

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