When January comes around, people are still hungry, still cold, still jobless, still homeless. Yet as a society, we're spent. We've been giving and thoughtful and helpful and hospitable until we've about had enough. December did us in. We hosted friends and family, we gave gifts, we cooked, we shopped, we traveled, we watched football … and now we don't want to do anything.
We just want to get through January. It's cold and blustery and not very interesting. There are few exciting activities. Big events are "on hold" as we wait for better weather.
So what do we do? Fight it. Decide you're going to be different this year. You're going to help others in January — and maybe even February and March. You're going to pursue giving in the "off season" and set an example for your kids, your neighbors, your church and anyone else who notices it's not December and you're still giving.
What can you do? Here is a short list of ways to help:
1. Put together a group of friends and volunteer to cook and serve a meal at the Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen. Email [email protected] for available dates.
2. Gather friends and family and go sort food and clothing at the Donation Center. MUST receives a lot at Christmas and we need help getting it all organized. Email [email protected] and ask when help is needed most.
3. Give money. Yep – it doesn't flow into charities in January the way it does in December, but there are still the same number of needs. You can make a big difference by giving now.
4. Collect items needed most, like new underwear and socks in every kind and size. When you help 30,000 a year, there is never enough underwear and socks. We also need undershirts, bras, long-johns, large diapers, pullups and camis. Take them to the Donation Center at 55 Chastain Road, Suite 110, Kennesaw.
5. Our 24 school food pantries are running low on cereal, canned or boxed potatoes, boxed pasta and boxed rice. Our other food pantries need canned meat, spaghetti sauce with meat, boxed dinners with canned meat, oil, sugar, juice and condiments. Take them to the MUST – Save It Forward warehouse at 1395 S. Marietta Parkway, Building 900, Suite 904; Marietta.
6. Pray. More than anything, MUST wants to be in the center of God's will, helping those in need and doing what He calls us to do — to love our neighbors as ourselves. Pray for God to guide and provide. And keep praying. God seems to be making a way for some big changes in 2017, new ways to help and extend our reach to those in need.
So if January feels bleak, move forward and so something heart-warming. Don't let the past hectic pace keep you from serving. Dive into winter in a new way.
When you're huddled up by the fire, think of those by a fire in the woods. When you turn the heat on in your car, think of those who have to walk in the cold. When you put on your warm coat, think of those who have no coat. When you eat a hot meal, remember those who have no food. You'll be motivated to do something. And it will make a difference in their lives … and yours.