‘Tis The Season of Giving

‘Tis The Season of Giving

Nicole Rivera, Entertainment Editor

   With the holiday season quickly approaching, people often become overwhelmed with to-do lists, preparations, and last-minute shopping. While those are all important aspects of the holidays, one of the main, if not most valuable, characteristics of this stressful yet joyous season is giving. You see, around this time last year in a single night, there were over 500,000 people in America experiencing homelessness. Of those +500,000 people, about 178,000 were without sheltered, almost 70,000 were families, and roughly 45,000 were children and youth, although there has been a decrease in homelessness “possibly due to improvements in the homeless assistance system” as stated by endhomelessness.org. Seeing that the holidays are known as the season of giving, shouldn’t we make an extra effort towards giving more to those who aren’t exactly looking forward to spending another holiday season being homeless?

   The way I see it, we’re all human and we all need to feel loved and seen. Except when it comes to people on the streets, we tend to overlook or pretend to not see them. Why? It makes us uncomfortable or we feel guilty about rushing through multiple shops buying things for people who might not even need whatever it is we purchase. But at the end of the day, when we are cozied up by the fire with our families and our presents, those people on the streets are still people who need to feel loved and seen.

   It may seem out of character or absolutely uncomfortable to approach or initiate a conversation with a homeless person, but you’d be surprised how the smallest gesture can have a major impact on someone. A simple glance and smile or even a wave could make someone’s day. Of course not all scenarios will end with a joyful, triumphant feeling of overcoming an obstacle of some sort, but that shouldn’t stop someone from reaching out to those who aren’t normally seen.

   There are also many different organizations like Samaritan’s Purse: Operation Christmas Child and Los Angeles Mission whose goals are to provide for the homeless and those in need. Los Angeles Mission main focus is being used by God to “bring about change in lives devastated by substance abuse and poor lifestyle choices.” They have served LA County for over 75 years and strive to serve the immediate needs of the community. It is a non-profit, faith-based organization that is “among the nation’s largest service providers to the homeless.” (losanglelesmission.org) Samaritan’s Purse: Operation Christmas Child is a program that uses shoeboxes filled with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies to send it to a child in need anywhere in the world. Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational  evangelical Christian organization providing physical and spiritual aid to “victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.” (samaritanspurse.org)

   We’re all human and we should all be able to know that there are people who care for us. Let’s make an effort to give our time and love to those who really need it, not just for the holidays, but for the rest of our lives.