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Humankind- Yes, Santa Claus, We need Virginias

As the holiday season flashes by us again, Santa’s helpers everywhere, bell ringers in the malls, stupid TV ads with dancing girls selling jeans to a rap music sound track, we are inundated, completely saturated with circulars, catalogs and requests for donations. The month of December can become overwhelming, especially in a recession, bah humbug.

But as the New Year rolls in we can start anew with hopes of a prosperous year ahead and renewed optimism. As Francis Church wrote back in his famous 1897 New York Sun editorial, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.”

How dreary indeed the world would be if we had no Virginias. The truth is we need Virginias now more than ever, men, women, and children willing to believe in an important cause or needful organization. We can give the gift that keeps giving, not just a donation of money but our time and most importantly our infectious unfettered belief in doing good for others. And it starts again this New Year in our own minds.

This past year was one of the worst ever for charities. According to a November 18th article in the New York Times, large foundations hit hard, some by the Ponzi schemes that undermined our nations financial investment world, are going out of business. This has created a ripple effect. These foundations provided the seed money for many small community non-profits like Veggie U over in Milan, Ohio that helps young school kids learn about better food choices.

In 2009 many non-profits that do wonderful things had to shutter their doors or severely cut back their efforts. With fundraising down and grant money drying up we need to create the “ripple back effect” that becomes the wave of care in 2010. In 2009 the island made collective efforts to help the Salvation Army, Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Research, but more importantly we gave to our local fire department, EMS, Senior Center, veterans, 4-H and Arts Council. We dug deep to help out members of our community needing food, medical treatment, even housing.

It is important to make a pledge of financial support to a group or organization, and please be sure to support your favorite group again. But in this time of economic uncertainty, we need your sincere belief in what these amazing organizations do, and we need to help them make it through these tough times. We need your belief that we can cure cancer, hunger and improve our quality of life as we age. We need the devotional spirit of a child’s pure love and generosity directed towards what inspires us. We need to make sure those we love and the things we believe in survive and prosper this New Year. We need Virginias now more than ever.

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