Carefully follow the instructions

Every year about this time I launch into a speech about community giving and I tell you that if you don’t want to read what I have to say you should move on to another page. So … if you don’t want to read about community giving, this is the time to move on to another page.

Community giving has always been a big part of my life. I am not telling you this because I think I am the queen of generosity and want you to know it. I am telling you this, because as Bill Meyer told me once, “The purpose of an opinion column is to let readers know what we think. Often, when we share the same idea over and over, we want the reader to think as we do.” This is my opinion column and I want you to think as I do — I want you to be a part of community giving.

All of us see and participate in things we enjoy or appreciate. This is especially true of things in our own community: the scholarship presentations at graduation, Avenue of Flags, Fourth of July fireworks, our beautiful parks, our historic downtown, the Christmas lights, community food bank, churches, library, groups for youth and senior citizens, and many other worthy causes and organizations.

Did anything in that paragraph strike your fancy? Do your children use the park or the sports complex? Do your parents enjoy their time at the senior center, or do your kids gain something from scouting, 4-H, church groups, the library, or the HUB? Do you appreciate our historic buildings or the ties to Frederic Remington, the World War II prisoner of war camp, or the first free library in Kansas? Do you invite friends and family to share July Fourth, the Memorial Day weekend and the Avenue of Flags, or the Christmas lights downtown?

The first local scholarship was given to a high school senior back in the early 1960s. I believe the amount was $100. Today thousands of dollars are given every year to members of each graduating class. That only happens because families, alumni, and former residents wanted to give back. You could be one of them.

Here we are at the holiday season. It is time once again to shop and to buy. We all will do it. However, if it is possible in there to substitute a gift in someone’s name to an organization that could really use your support, would you consider doing that? Imagine spending $100 to help keep the library open for the next generation of young people who want to use it? Imagine how far $50 or $100 would go at the food bank? How many newsletters could the historical society or the HUB print and send for that amount of money? Adding a mere $5 a month to your water bill would give the Christmas light committee another $60 to keep the Christmas lights burning downtown.

Few of us really need more “things.” I urge you to think carefully about the events, celebrations, and institutions in Peabody that you enjoy. I hope you will support them. Please be a part of community giving.

— SUSAN MARSHALL

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