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Editorial: Shining lights of generosity

Generosity is hitting Salisbury-Rowan with full force this week. Churches, clubs, law enforcement agencies and other organizations are reaching out to people in need with food, bicycles, toys, clothing and more.

Charity begins at home — in this case, in our home community. The groups behind these gestures are what former President H.W. Bush called the “thousand points of light,” the organizations that are spread like stars across the nation, dedicated to doing good.

Among those points of light are the many people who send donations to the Salisbury Post’s Christmas Happiness Fund. In amounts both large and small, thousands of dollars come in each year to help qualifying families provide gifts for their children, and the Post is grateful for every penny.

Shavonne Walker, the Post reporter who has been writing most of our Christmas Happiness stories for several years, says the community drives Christmas Happiness. People donate money “to help children they don’t even know,” she says — strangers.

Thousands of children in Rowan County live in a state of need, watching much of Christmas pass them by. They know hunger and want.

Helping those children is what Christmas Happiness is all about. Walker says she has realized that Christmas Happiness is a tradition for many donors, an important part of their annual Christmas observances. In notes and phone calls, donors comment that they have been giving to the fund for years and years.

Reporter Rebecca Rider, who has also written about the fund, was impressed by instances in which family members picked up the tradition for a parent or spouse who had passed away, and they continued the giving tradition.

The Post is grateful to the Salvation Army for its help in getting Christmas Happiness funds to the people who need them. Eligible families receive a voucher, $35 per child, to buy gifts the themselves.  NaKisha Carr of the local Salvation Army says that makes a big difference.

“That voucher gives a parent such dignity,” Carr told Walker recently. “They can go in the store, purchase clothes and toys and have a little bit of pride back.”

Remembering “the reason for the season” — the birth of Christ — is essential to the true spirit of Christmas. Equally important is acting on his message. “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.”

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