Be resolute in reaching out

By RENE’ DAY / Community Columnist

Christmas present is past, and it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. In recent years, though, it seems that more and more people choose to make just one resolution. They resolve to make NO more resolutions. Certainly, it’s safe, but it really doesn’t do much for making you a better person – or making the world a better place. The days after Dec. 25 often provide a few moments to reflect on the past 12 months, and a quick self-assessment can be beneficial in a lot of ways.

Take philanthropy, for instance. Not many would argue with you that Americans are exceptionally giving people. And, the people in this county are some of the best among the best in taking care of friends and neighbors. Just look at all of the effort citizens have put into insuring that the vulnerable and less equipped were afforded a blessed holiday season. Monthly giving records are always broken in December as people strive to embody the “Golden Rule.”

But charitable needs don’t end at Christmas each year. Non-profit organizations around Shelby County keep their doors open and their work going all year, and they could benefit from one of your New Year’s resolutions. When students go back to school in January, BackPack Buddies will be there to make sure that all have access to healthy and adequate food at home. Family Connection will continue their efforts to help teenagers who can’t live at home even after the last ornament is packed away. Oak Mountain Ministries will help provide clothing, furniture and other necessities after Christmas lights lose their twinkle, and the numerous church-based food pantries will continue to feed the hungry after all the holiday cookies have crumbled. They don’t stop just because the calendar turns to January. In fact, the coming winter months are sometimes the most demanding in terms of requests for help. Shelby Emergency Assistance can attest to that as they take donations of warm clothing, blankets, gloves and other cold weather gear for the county’s aging population. Perhaps you can resolve to help them throughout the coming year.

And, although needed and appreciated, money isn’t the only way to assist. Many of these non-profits can also use extra sets of hands and feet – volunteering for just a few hours a week can substantially help them help others. And, they usually are quite flexible in allowing you to find a place in which you can “plug in.” The Shelby County, Alabama homepage even gives you several ways to find out about all the possibilities. Love art and culture? The Shelby County Arts Council is listed. Want to give an animal a “paw up?” Then, contact the Humane Society. Start at Shelbyal.com and go to County Services under the Departments heading. There is bound to be a place where you can help. Resolving to assist your “neighbor” may just be the best thing you do in 2018. Happy New Year!