Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A season for real giving

As noble and vital as charitable aid is for victims of hurricanes, international earthquakes and unspeakable famine afar, needs closer to home can be just as urgent and compelling.

In this season when giving is a theme as well as a custom, generous Wood River families can create and live the reality by remembering and lending a hand to other families whose year-round needs border on the desperate.

In Blaine County, where affluence places the area on the list of Idaho's highest median family incomes, the U.S. Census, however, counted some 1,469 persons as living below the poverty level in 2000. Using the Census Bureau's 7.8 percent calculation from 2000, in 2004 perhaps 1,600 were living in poverty.

Poverty is defined by the U.S. Health and Human Services as an annual household income of $9,310 for one person, $18,850 for a family of four, $31,570 for a family of eight. Because of the valley's cost of living levels, the poverty level here might well be understated.

Practicing the well-known American trait for charity and brotherhood, valley families can contact any religious house of worship or established community help group for leads on the neediest and how they can be helped with food, clothing, household furnishings, medical attention, other donations and services.

Give generously. It's the spirit of the season. It's also the right thing to do for neighbors not as fortunate. And it makes all of us far better for sharing.

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