EDITORIAL: Amid this year’s challenges, the spirit of giving can help our communities in Malheur County

Finding joy this holiday season is going to be tough in Malheur County. But we can’t let circumstances beat us down. A lot of our friends and neighbors, including many who have never had to put a hand out for help, will be hoping we can find the will to do good.

Look, we’ve not had a dour winter like this in a very long time. Covid is creeping over us at a rapid pace. With the latest business “pause,” many of those who can least afford it are losing their jobs at restaurants and gyms and more.

There won’t be a lot of government help. Congress and President Donald Trump are dithering, focusing on their own political cat fight, rather than acting to save the country from more economic wreckage. For now, our businesses in Malheur County have burned through the federal money that kept them alive. No more help seems to be on the coming beyond the modest amounts spared by the state. Many people will come out of the Christmas season with a giant lump of coal – the word that their unemployment checks are ending.

And the charitable groups that this time of year count on generosity are hurting. The major fundraisers that fill their treasuries are stopped or dramatically scaled back. And fewer individuals have the ability to write a donation check. That means these groups have less money to provide help.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves, Malheur County, and pitch in as we haven’t in a long time.

There are still many of us who are collecting regular paychecks. There are businesses still operating, some profitably. Imagine between households and businesses that Malheur County has, 2,500 who could, if determined, donate $250 to a local charity. That would be an infusion of $625,000 in short order.

Choose the cause that moves you the most.

Are you concerned about children who need day care so mom or dad can work? Do you want to help provide educational supplies for those kids who have to try learning while at home? Find the local nonprofit or school group serving those and contribute – today.

Are you concerned about seniors who are told to isolate at home without company? Or who need food because they’re unable to go out themselves? Find the local nonprofit that can tend their needs and contribute – today.

Are you concerned about veterans being left alone and behind in the blur of today’s fast-changing events? Do you want to be sure they are clothed, housed and have medicine? Find the nonprofit that can tend their needs and contribute – today.

Are you worried about local youth who can’t go back to college or university because they no longer have the money? Several groups can help fund scholarships to send Malheur County’s determined students back to class.

Are you concerned about those out of work having enough to eat? Or having their power turned off because they can’t pay the bill? Nonprofits have a cure for all of that. Find one and contribute – today.

We can grouse about government actions and choices. We can wring our hands about the unfair toll Covid is taking on all of us.

What’s better, though, is to conclude that YOU can do something about the suffering and misery – that you can change a life, improve a life. So, maybe give up on handing out fancy gifts to each other. Or trim the usual Christmas bonus. Or just dig a little deeper to find that $250 – or whatever amount you can spare. Let’s take care of our own and live the spirit of giving as we have seldom needed to. – LZ

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