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Don’t be Scrooge this holiday season

As is the case every year, we have friends and neighbors among us for whom the holiday season presents an especially challenging time.

With COVID-19 still floating about and leaving last impacts for many, financial hurdles are abounding for many families. Whether it’s the cost of a big holiday meal, attending a show or other special event or buying gifts for loved ones, Christmas costs can add up quickly. For those who are scrimping and pinching to pay the mortgage and afford the other necessities of life, that challenge can be depressing and seem insurmountable.

This time of year isn’t just about presents, of course. Whether you celebrate a religious observance or a time of family togetherness, “the holidays” represent for many of us a special time of heightened joy, a time of peace, love, hope and greater feeling for our fellow man – for some of us. On the other hand, the season can bring stress instead of joy for families facing financial hardship.

Some in our community need a little extra help this season. They are counting on “goodwill to men” as they face what, instead of being the most wonderful time of the year, has the potential to be the bleakest.

They need our help – and just like Santa Claus, Franklin County has always delivered.

Opportunities to help make the season merry and bright for those in need are in great supply. The Russellville Helping Santa program – spearheaded by the fire and police departments – is a favorite for many to support. For several years, Russellville firefighters and police officers have led the effort to collect toys for children of all ages across Russellville and Franklin County. You can find donation boxes in a number of local businesses and city offices.

There’s also Bank Independent’s annual Toy Share drive, one of four donation efforts the bank hosts throughout the year. People can donate at any bank branch, and toys are distributed through the Department of Human Resources in Franklin County.

Phil Campbell Christmas is continuing its annual efforts for local children, too, with more information available on Facebook. Many schools and churches are coordinating their own efforts to collect toys as well as necessities for Franklin families.

Avoiding going into stores to make purchases as the pandemic continues? Many groups will accept cash donations and items purchased from Amazon wishlists.

Whether it’s through a church, a school or a community group, we encourage you to choose one or more of these giving opportunities as you wrap up your Christmas shopping.

As the saying goes: It is truly more blessed to give than to receive. Let’s make sure this is the hap-happiest season of all.

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