The season

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It is the Christmas season,  and we all have our individual perspectives of what that season means.

Many of us have the religious connection to Christ’s birth. Then we have those who look for that jolly old elf from the north and it is all about Santa Claus. We also have the fat boy segment that is looking forward to that Christmas dinner.

Christmas seems to be the time of the year that families actually sit down and visit. These are all aspects of the Christmas season, and they all have their place.

The commercialization of Christmas has always bothered me to an extent. But, if I am honest with myself, I like the festive decorations and the secular Christmas songs. Even the Christmas commercials are interesting. It is simply meant to be a season of good times.

The farm boy in me always noted that the crops were in and the farm settled down for the winter months. It was time for a break unless you had milk cows and then you never got the break. Beef cattle and hogs were always happy if you simply kept the feed bunkers full. Life was good.

Today, my wife and I live out in the rural part DeWitt County. We have woods and farm fields surrounding us. Sunday afternoon three deer were chasing each other across the yard, into the woods, and back out again. It was a perfect Christmas setting.

That scene simply personified that the season was and is to be enjoyed. There was peace at the homestead. We are now empty nesters and quiet is something to be enjoyed. Watching those deer frolic across the side yard was simply a joy. The world’s conflicts were forgotten, and peace was evident.

We all need that time to step back, relax and enjoy the moment. While so many of us are blessed, there are those who still struggle to have a meal over the holidays.

The Neighborhood Care Center provides assistance to many in this community who need assistance with food and other items. The American Legion, VFW, and Amvets assists many of our military veteran families. Dove assists many who have need after incidents of domestic violence. Our local churches provide additional services for those in need in their congregations. This is a giving community, especially at the Christmas season.

There is another group in DeWitt County that is simply known as the Christmas Food Basket Group. This group noticed several years ago that many school children were eating two meals at school each day, breakfast and lunch. During Christmas break from school, those meals ceased. They also saw that several senior citizens were also having food difficultiesover the Christmas season.

I don’t know all of the details of how this group organized, save that Helen Michelassi was involved. When Helen engages in a cause, get out of the way, because it is going to happen. Involved with her are the names of Teri Tedrick, Roger Sprague, Edith Lunney, Sharon Ijams, Susan Cooper, Don Schlessinger and Tina Baxter. I apologize to anyone who I failed to list.

These people saw a need and engaged in a solution to hunger over the holidays. Those kids and seniors were going to have a Christmas meal, plus additional food for the Christmas season. They got together and partnered with the local churches to provide food baskets over the Christmas season.

Each church was asked to provide 150—300 units of a specific nonperishable food item, mac and cheese as an example. Financial support is also provided.

The group gets all of this product together at one location. This year the location is the Catholic Church. The word goes out to the community and those in need place their name with Food Basket Group with the number of members in their family.

The food basket group then adds some perishable items to the food baskets and the baskets are picked up on a Saturday at the start of the Christmas break from school. The size of the basket is based on the number in the family. The basket is designed to give each family a Christmas dinner and provide essential food for the time of the Christmas break when the children will not be able to east a meal at school.

Those food baskets reflect the meaning of the season. The world needs more of this activity and less hatred. Thank-you to the Food Basket Group and the churches and residents who support this community. Merry Christmas.