By editorial board • 

Always new ways to give during the holiday season

Much of our holiday season routine is repeated year after year. We indulge in the same or similar foods, traditions, parties, movies and so on.

But within those constraints, opportunities inevitably arise to rejuvenate our menu of holiday cheer, especially when it comes to opening our checkbooks, pantries and hearts to those most in need. 

Next week, we will begin running Holiday Giving in our Connections section as an addendum to our Helping Hands feature. It will continue through December, featuring the often-familiar names of holiday programs and drives, with details for engagement. 

The Giving Tree campaign, organized by the See Ya Later Foundation and also supporting A Family Place and the Give a Little Foundation, has become one of the most visible holiday donation programs locally.

Gift cards for items ranging from gas to clothing and salon visits to toys are placed as ornaments on trees. The trees can be found at around 20 retail locations in the greater McMinnville area.

Cards can be purchased by patrons to assist “hurting, discouraged or financially struggling families during the holidays,” as the foundation puts it.

Other annual traditions of giving include the Newberg Fire Department’s Toys & Joy Drive, Amity Volunteer Firefighters’ Amity Tree of Giving, Henderson House’s holiday wish list, Yamhill Community Action Program’s blankets and books drive and First Federal’s military gift box program, staged in concert with the American Legion’s Ladies of Auxiliary Unity #21.

Local law enforcement agencies are seeking donations to participate in the nationally recognized Shop with a Cop program. And the county sheriff’s office is joining this year, in lieu of staging its annual toy drive.

The program improves the holiday season for underprivileged children by providing gift cards funding a shopping expedition with a local law enforcement officer.

There are also some emerging drives, such as Smith & Company Painting’s third annual Coats For Kids Drive. Now underway, its goal is to collect 500 new or slightly used coats from throughout the county.

Keep this drive in mind while taking advantage of the massive shopping deals this weekend, and subsequent weekends leading up to Christmas.

A $25 winter coat might seem like a very small gesture. But wrapped around the body of a child who previously made do with a worn, ragged and out-grown hand-me-down, if he had any coat to call his own at all, it provides a wonderful new sense of security and self-worth.   

Another traditional holiday gift collection will unfold at halftime during McMinnville High’s Friday night basketball game of Dec. 16. Hundreds of fan will be invited to joyously fling stuffed animals on the court, to be collected for distribution to needy local children.

We know there are plenty more generous causes as well. Take a few moments this weekend to learn about them, as they can add flavor and meaning to the holiday season.

Oftentimes, the least you can do is more than enough for those on the receiving end of your holiday cheer.


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