The gift of community

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 13, 2018

By Sandi Scannelli

Here we are, in the middle of a busy holiday season once again. It’s when we breathlessly try to keep pace with our normal busy schedule while we add decorating, baking, shopping, sending cards, parties — a-a-a-a-ah! And promise ourselves that next year will be different. But then, this week, it snowed and everything paused for one full day while we simply watched flakes accumulate. What a gift! As our eyes were on the inches accumulating, we also checked in with family and neighbors to make sure they were safe, had power, and to see whether they needed anything. Then, as we ventured out, we helped neighbors dig out, offered soup or hot cocoa to sledders, or maybe walked the dog of an elderly neighbor. That’s the very definition of community and what we are all called to do — to be in relationship with others as support, encouragement, and an extra hand in their times of need — and this is wonderfully illustrated during storms.

It may be hard to imagine, but not everyone has such a community. There are those who are isolated and lonely; struggling with health, financial, or other life challenges; anxious and without a listening ear or encouraging words. This season, consider broadening your community of neighbors, friends, and family to someone who doesn’t have such a supportive network. Yes, you’ve probably given to the traditional holiday appeals for toys, clothing, and food. That’s great! But those without a community of care need more than a holiday season gift — they need a community who will walk alongside them year-round to guide and support a change of circumstances toward a more hope-filled future.

This season, consider giving the gift of community. Reach out and offer your care, compassion, a listening ear — maybe to a student who needs regular, trusted encouragement; or a senior citizen who longs for a reliable friend to regularly spend a little time; or a single parent who desperately needs an extra hand. Invite them into your community.

Yes, community is a gift we sometimes don’t appreciate — until it snows.

Don’t know where to start? Give us a call at the Clemmons Community Foundation. We’ll help you connect. We also can help you consider how your philanthropy can have a lasting impact, but it starts with relationships — hearts, hands and resources that lift people up — not just this month, but year-round.

I’ll offer more opportunities in the months ahead — projects we’re working on, information on community needs unmet or needing an extra hand. But you don’t have to wait for the next article. Give us a call and we’ll help you connect your “gifts” with causes that you care about today.

Enjoy the season — and the next snow!