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Your Views: Local group out to help needy Kentucky town
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With Thanksgiving only a week away, our eyes look forward to the Christmas season. Finances are tighter this year for most families than they have been and providing holiday gifts seems like a daunting task even to those who have been blessed enough to be able to keep their jobs and income. Families that have not been so fortunate can see this time of year as more stress than merriment.

Recent reports suggest that charitable giving is down nearly 10 percent from the holiday season last year, so those who have less will suffer even more this year.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Heroes are created in times of crisis and being a hero to a child or family can be as simple as donating some food for a Christmas dinner, a stuffed animal that brings comfort to a child in need, or warm coats and clothes to those who would otherwise go without. The point is for more people to contribute, no matter how small the gift.

There are many opportunities of places and ways to give in the Hall County area. Most local churches are taking donations or gifts in order to make some sort of difference. There is also an Angel Tree in Chick-fil-A in order to help local seniors who are often overlooked during the holiday season.

A local effort has also been made to help those in other areas of the country. For the past several years, a team has been collecting nonperishable foods, toys and clothing to take to the coal-mining town of Harlan, Ky. Harlan is a town that is used to poverty. With most of the town dependant upon the coal industry and unemployment rate well above the national average, these tough times are nothing new.

However, with help from people like Harlan Pastor William Baker and local Santa Claus Donnie Carder, big strides have been made to make the holiday season a little brighter. Santa Donnie collects items until the week of Christmas and transports them to Harlan for distribution by Pastor William, who is very familiar with the need in the area, as he is also a coal miner.

The focus this Christmas is to collect food, as that is the greatest need. If this sounds like an opportunity that you may want to know more about, the Harlan Kentucky Christmas Projects e-mail is You can request additional information from that point as well as learning how to give.

This could be the chance of a life time to teach your children what Christmas really means, that it really is better to give than to receive.

Bethany Towe

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