COLUMN: My ‘needs’ pale by the need of others

With every keystroke to write this column I wait for the screen to go black ...

On the Other Hand by Mark Rushton

With every keystroke to write this column I wait for the screen to go black, creating a prolonged “arrrggghhh” followed by a phone call to the editor explaining that due to power failure there is a need to fill this space with something else.

On the other hand, if you are reading this, then the powerful winds rocking my house Tuesday morning left the local power grid unscathed, at least until after I hit ‘send.’

However, it is not only the wind that is remarkable as I write, but the temperature – hovering on 15 degrees but feeling markedly warmer in the gusts.

And as long as the rain holds off, I’m happy with the “exterior heating” which no longer requires as part of my morning routine smashing ice in water troughs.

The weather prognosticators have been suggesting we are in for a mild winter thanks to the Pacific Ocean’s El Nino effect. I’m not certain if that can be credited with Tuesday’s mildness as much as it could be attributed to a “Pineapple Express” storm rocketing our way from Hawaiian waters.

Regardless, the relative pleasantness of the weather is welcome during these latter days of fall. Since heating costs in my home are mollified by a roaring blaze in the fireplace, it is with trepidation that I approach the woodshed, my oversight in wood-gathering this year painfully obvious in the diminishing supply.

If the weather forecasters are correct, a mild winter will reduce my consumption; if not, then for the first time I may actually have to purchase a load or two of seasoned firewood. Either way, it beats the price of heating oil, despite its cost having recently dropped substantially.

What hasn’t dropped, however, is the cost of Christmas and the need to help those who don’t worry so much about running out of firewood as what to put on the table. Aside from the obvious homeless situation, there are literally hundreds of people and families for whom this time of year is one of sadness rather than joy, when the cost of a Christmas gift has to be balanced against the price of food.

Next time you visit Costco or the grocery store, pick up an extra case of canned goods or other non-perishable food product.

Provide donation bins at your Christmas parties, and rummage through your closets for no-longer-wanted but quality clothing, particularly for children.

This is a time of giving, and not just to your chosen few but for all who are part and parcel of the fabric we call home. It is neither expensive nor onerous to contribute to the well-being of those who share our community.

If each of us gives just a little, it will help so many, putting smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts.

To determine the need in our community, a call to the Food Bank and/or the Salvation Army can identify what is required in the way of food products, clothing and so forth.

Additionally, Save-On-Foods adjacent to The News building has an entire display of appropriate food bank items. You can also go to for a list of the most needed items.

And that action, I suggest, is a whole lot better than simply buying something you think might be wanted instead of giving what is needed. Not much point in buying a case of cranberry sauce if there are no turkeys on the table.

Just remember that money is no measure of a person’s worth, and regardless of their financial ability, they and their families are the same as everyone else in their hopes and dreams.

So please, take a minute to consider how much you enjoy being with your friends and families this time of year, and try to help those in need experience a similar joy this season.






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