Holiday season a time to help those in need, raise awareness

The decorative trees are once again going up, transforming common household windows into beautiful portraits of comfort and joy. Ribbons, tinsel and garland wrap streetlights like gifts; beacons for humanity to follow this holiday season.

Holiday favorites flood the airwaves, bringing back fond childhood memories. Consumers are eager to find that ideal gift for loved ones and the anticipation of home-cooked meals and togetherness is almost too much to bear.

This is the time a year when many feel that there can be no price too high to achieve that perfect happiness; a year’s worth of less than perfect moments just to reach this point.

However, the reality is that economic times have proven unjust to some. There are thousands throughout the U.S. that have no beacon to hold dear to their hearts this holiday season.

Homelessness, hunger and loneliness can be seen in the eyes of children, men and women alike; misfortune does not discriminate.

There is no reassurance that Christmas will find them among the streets they call home and, for the majority, little to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. In fact, for most, the only goal they wish to achieve is a hot meal and a safe, warm place to lay their heads.

The desperation of the situation is heartbreaking.

Imagine a child on a cold winter night huddling next to loved ones trying desperately to keep warm. This child has not eaten for days. Sirens and the sobs of her mother are her lullaby.

Christmas Eve holds no excitement for her like it does most small children. The closest she will get to experiencing a true Christmas is spending the night at a shelter, if there is room, or staring into the window of a blessed and fortunate family.

She is well aware there will be no presents waiting her the next morning, yet this realization does not stop the child from looking up at a star-filled sky wondering if Santa Claus will once again fly by.

She is among the forgotten.

So what needs to be done to put a stop to this growing epidemic? The only tools needed to find resolution to this problem is compassion, love and time.

Society must reclaim the humanity lost in the name of progress.

Some argue that one small deed of the heart cannot undo all the pain and suffering of the world. However, even the smallest gesture can have quite the impact and help assure these needy families will no longer be overlooked.

The UK Community Outreach Center is paving the way to create awareness of this growing problem.

The center is currently taking donations of baskets filled with nonperishable food for God’s Pantry and collecting Christmas Gifts for families that have none.

Anyone can contribute to these events regardless of demographic. Furthermore, many locations have set up food banks, and organizations, like the Salvation Army, are always in need of toys and gifts for the needy.

Goodwill is always eager to take last year’s winter clothing and coats off your hands. This gesture alone can guarantee that some needy family will be a bit warmer during colder weather; and for those on a limited budget wishing to contribute, many helpful organizations and shelters are always in need of caring volunteers.

If one person can make a difference, just think of what many could accomplish for the few.

Economic climates are treacherous, to say the least, and the line separating the fortunate and the unfortunate is very thin.

None of us can be sure what tomorrow will bring; no one wants to be homeless, hungry and forgotten.

Just keep in mind that in a single moment you may find yourself in that very situation.

This holiday season, do what you can to assure the next time a homeless child looks up at the sky and wonders if Christmas will find her, it does.