Archive for Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Shouts and Murmurs: Take time now to think of others

November 19, 2003

As we approach Thanksgiving and the Christmas season, it's important to remember the families in our area who may be experiencing hard times.

Surprisingly, even in Tonganoxie, not everyone has a house they can call home. Not everyone has money to pay bills. And not everyone goes to sleep at night knowing where they will get their next meal.

In Tonganoxie, there are plenty of opportunities to help others. One way is to volunteer at the Good Shepherd Thrift Shop and Food Pantry. In taking a tour of the shop with a group of grade school children Monday, we saw firsthand what the volunteers are up against. It takes manpower to sort through the wealth of donations left at the thrift shop almost daily.

At times, newly donated items are stacked to the ceilings of the sorting rooms. And, workers continually cull through everything on their store shelves so items that have not sold within a reasonable period of time can be shipped to charities in other towns.

Last month, the shop temporarily stopped accepting donations so volunteers could have time to sort through the many items that filled the building.

And as always, the thrift shop continues to provide groceries to area families. This week, students from Tonganoxie Elementary School carted canned goods and other food items to the shop.

At the end of October, Tonganoxie High School's FCCLA members collected grocery items at B&J Country Mart. Across the county, 4-H clubs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and other organizations contribute to the thrift shop's pantry. Area churches and other organizations help, as well.

Downtown, Vickie and Matt Bichelmeyer are conducting a "Jean Lenahan Memorial" food drive at their steakhouse. All items are taken to the thrift shop.

And of course there's always a need for cash donations at the thrift shop.

The shop itself is self-supporting as far as utilities and maintenance. And in the past there has been enough additional money left over to provide rental and utility payments to people who are experiencing hard times.

But this year, requests for cash assistance have increased, and with it of course, the realization that more funding would allow the thrift shop to help more people.

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Since war broke out in Iraq in March, The Mirror has tried to keep readers in touch with the fact that this war, like all others, reaches home.

From our area there are military personnel whom we know. Which, in the face of our rapidly growing community, means there are likely many more that we do not know.

As a pre-Thanksgiving special, this week we've included interviews with various military servicemen and/or their families. Some we knew to contact. Others, after reading last week's request in The Mirror, contacted us. We apologize in advance for those we might have left out, and we want to express our gratitude, and our concern for everyone who is serving in the military today.

As we face the holiday season -- days and weeks typically sparked with warm reunions and family get-togethers -- our hearts go out to the families of those who have loved ones in the military.

In a perfect world, all servicemen and servicewomen would be coming home to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with their families.

But in a perfect world, there would be no war.

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