Making a Difference At Christmas

Greetings and Salutations;

Today is December 25th,  2016
Christmas Day
.    This is always a complicated holiday for me,  as there is such a culture clash between what today is SUPPOSED to mean…and what its CONTENT says it means.  In theory,  it is a day for Children’s joy,   the lights and decorations around the house are spreading glints of color and movement wherever one looks.   There are presents wrapped in bright paper under the tree.  There are stockings,  hung by the chimney with care,  and overflowing with once a year treats.   There are visits by friends and family and, much rejoicing.
Alas,  the reality for too many of us is far from this.   For too many of the world,  this day is a reminder of the oppression and hate in the world; of the starvation and want;  of the destruction of one’s home,  of the death of family or friends;  of an overwhelming feeling of sadness and loneliness.
  • It is a reminder that while (for Christians)  it is a celebration of the birth of Christ,  the holiday has become so drowned in Materialism that the message of tolerance,  love, and helping one’s neighbor has been lost.
  • Right now,  there is a Veteran  who is taking his or her own life  because the physical and mental injuries of war have become too great to live with.
  • Right now, there are too many Americans who are huddling over street grates,  trying to get a little warmth against the bitter cold of the Winter.
  • Right now, there are aged relatives,  living in a facility,  who have no old friends and family visit them…and sometimes a five minute phone call is all the contact they get this year with their family.
  • Right now, there are LGBTQ folks who are being thrown out of their family because of their sexual orientation,  or who have not had a holiday with their family for that reason.
  • This inhumanity is not limited to HUMANS either.
  • Right now, there are millions of companion animals living in the wild  because their people have decided to take them on a ride and dump them out somewhere far from home, for no good reason.
  • Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of companion animals for whom today was their last day in the world.  Why?  Because the shelter they were dumped into ran out of room and has killed them to clear out cages for the next wave.
I am sorry to be such a wet blanket, It is no fun for me either…I weep as I type this post.  So,  I shall leave you with some suggestions about things that YOU can do to help the situation.
  1. Do not just say “I should contribute something to a charity”.  Take five minutes and DO it.   Most organizations these days have an online presence that will allow donations through the Net.   Use http://www.charitynavigator.org/ to find a cause to donate to, and to make sure the charity you are supporting is not just a scam.   Here,  by the by,  are a few Charities that I rather like.
  2. Donations to your local University to support grant programs.   This is great as all Universities have programs to help deserving students who show great promise,  but cannot afford higher education,  to attend.
  3. The K.I.N.D. fund –  http://www.msnbc.com/kind-fund  This program,  created by Lawrence O’Donnell,  pays for school desks for kids who now have to sit on the floor.   It has also started subsidizing high school (which is NOT free in many,  African countries)  to allow kids to push on with their education.
  4. Heifer International – https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3809  This group  helps the impoverished with animals and other sources of food and money.   I am lucky enough to have a relative who,  every year,  contributes enough for a beehive to this worthy cause.
  5. Local Veteran’s support groups – Look around…make a couple of calls in your town.  There are too many groups who help Vets with rehabilitation and rehab, and housing and food available.   A contribution to one of these helps support a person who has, in fact,  put their life on the line for you – a stranger.
  6. Local Animal shelters – Gifts of cash or needed supplies will do much good for our companion animals who have been lost or discarded.
  7. Rescue Groups – Look online,  etc.   There are many rescue groups who want to save the discarded from an early death,  and restore some Karmic Balance by finding them good homes and loving guardians.   Money is always useful.  Time can be a great gift.   Even if you only do it once…that is ONE animal whose life has been made better.  That is worth a lot.
  8. Rescue an animal yourself – If you can,  open your family of choice to a companion animal (or two).   They add an enormous amount to one’s life,  and cost very little.   If you can take an older animal from the shelter,  or a bonded pair,  that is even better,  as they are the least adoptable, and so  most likely to either spend their days in a small cage (if lucky enough to be in a “no kill” shelter)  or be executed to get them out of the way (if not).
In terms of gifts…All charities and organizations have suggested amounts.  They have to,  because without those choices too many people will say to themselves “Well,  I do not know how much they want,  so I will give NOTHING”.   However,  even a small amount will help.  If you drink a Starbucks’ coffee several times a month,  then…simply giving up ONE of those can easily net $10 for a worthy cause.    When you go grocery shopping…buy a few extra cans of soup (for example)  and drop them off at a homeless shelter.   Pick up an extra package of several pairs of underwear, and drop that off at the shelter.   If you adopt an adult animal (and yes, I know how cute puppies and kittens are),  seriously consider adopting two of them.   That way,  your companion animal will have a friend to keep them company when YOU cannot be there.
Now,  I am lucky enough to have a goodly sized house, and so can take care of 8+ cats inside and about 5 semi-feral, outside cats.   I do not expect anyone to take on that level of effort…I, though want to save them all.  I cannot do that, but, I take comfort in the fact that I can say,  every time I re-socialize a feral cat,  and get it moved to a good home with loving guardians,  that I have saved that ONE animal.  One by one.
The coming years are going to be a difficult challenge for all of us.  I believe that the best way to deal wih the surge of Evil in the world is by staying strong, and whenever we can,  perform a random act of Kindness in the world.   It will not make the world perfect,  alas,  but it will bring something positive to you,  as well to the recipient of that Kindness.
God Help Us.
Bee Man Dave

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