Thumbs-up: To feeding the hungry. This week, Dan Kenney with the DeKalb County Community Gardens said his group’s mobile food pantry has served more than 17,000 people in the county since it began a year and a half ago. The mobile food pantry tries to fill unmet needs in the community. It is open Saturdays, when most food pantries are not, and it is mobile, so it can travel to communities where there is not an operating food pantry, such as Waterman and Malta. About 3 in 10 people the mobile pantry serves are older than 60, Kenney said. It’s unfortunate that so many people need assistance in meeting a basic need for survival, but as long as they do, we are grateful that there are those in our community who are there to help.
Thumbs-up: To a bounce-back year for the Goodfellows. This charitable group raises money year-round to buy clothing for local families in need. Volunteers wrap the donations of hats, gloves, boots and other items in advance, and then volunteers deliver them around the community the morning of Dec. 24. For many local people and families, delivering gifts for the Goodfellows has become a holiday tradition – a great reminder that it is just as rewarding to give as to receive. Those who receive the gifts are grateful, too – some deliveries end with hugs. Although donations were down last year, the group was able to serve 450 families with more than 1,100 children – the most ever – this year. We hope the giving endures for generations to come.
Thumbs-down: To the shutdown of the federal government. We’re certain that there eventually will be a compromise between President Donald Trump and Democrats in Congress, although at the moment, it appears it could be days or more before it materializes. Opinions can differ on who’s to blame, or whether a wall along the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico makes sense at all, but there’s no disputing that about 800,000 federal employees will not receive paychecks until it is resolved. Many have been using social media to share their stories about how the financial uncertainty has affected them. It’s unfortunate to see ordinary people caught in the crossfire of this dispute, and although they eventually will be paid, if Congress and the president would have done their jobs more effectively, hundreds of thousands of people wouldn’t be in the spot they are in now.
Thumbs-up: To the start of a new year. A new year is the traditional time to set out to better yourself, and although resolutions often are hard to keep, that’s no reason to give up trying. Whether you’re the type to make resolutions or not, we all should celebrate making it through 2018. After all, the holidays will be over soon enough, and it will be time to get back to business. Here’s wishing you and yours a happy and prosperous year to come.