Give the gift of caring for another

Give the gift of caring for another

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It’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of shopping for holiday gifts during the December rush. Most of us are trying to get in and out of stores and malls as quickly as possible, but staying a little bit longer could go a long way this holiday season if we all make an effort to buy just one more present.

It doesn’t have to be a big one, like a video game console — although we’re sure nobody would mind that — but we could all buy just one more gift and donate it to a child in need through a local church or charity. There are kids whose parents simply cannot afford gifts, or live in domestic violence shelters, or don’t have parents at all. Those kids deserve a little happiness, too, to know that they are part of a community and that there are other people out there who care about them. We could also consider donating a gift to a hospital or a nursing home, where there could sometimes be people without family to remember them during the holidays.

Our newspaper told a story this week about a 22-year-old woman from Setauket who spent the last month raising money to buy holiday gifts for underprivileged teenagers. Her name is Hailey Del Giorno and she works at Little Flower Children and Family Services (631-929-6200) in Wading River. She is an only child and grew up reaping the bounty of the Christmas morning loot. But that did not deter her from reaching out to those who may be less fortunate, and she has already raised close to $2,000 to provide presents to teenagers she works with at the nonprofit organization.

We also see many local schools raising money to donate toys to those who are less fortunate. The Students Against Drunk Driving club at Mount Sinai raised money for Holiday Magic (631-265-7200), a not-for-profit organization that dedicates itself to making the holidays special for less fortunate children and their families. The club raised more than $7,000 and went shopping at Walmart and the Smith Haven Mall to purchase gifts for 67 children.

We, too, could look beyond ourselves and make our community better this holiday season.

There are strangers all around us who need a friend. Let’s make a difference in one of their lives during the season of giving.

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