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Now more than ever, it’s time to give

By: Susan Belknap Press Tribune Editor
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We’ve all read so many stories this past year about many people being down and out with the bad economy. You’d think in these difficult times that many would become bitter and resentful. But lately, I’ve discovered just the opposite. The other day upon exiting the freeway near downtown Sacramento I came upon a spot where I’ve always noticed several homeless people standing on a regular basis with their signs, “Please help, homeless and hungry.” It’s a place I’ve passed dozens of times in the last several years. But for the first time in all the years I’ve driven that way I noticed three different cars lower their driver-side window to give these homeless people some money. Some drivers gave what appeared to be change, while I saw one person dole out a few dollars. The cars that stopped were not luxury model sedans or fancy sports cars. They were just ordinary vehicles with occupants who wanted to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate than them. This was not the first instance of generosity I’ve witnessed of late. Several television stations as well as the Roseville Salvation Army are in the process of collecting backpacks for the impending school year, which is slated to begin for many schools next week. One news station said they collected more than 2,000 backpacks! While money is tight for so many right now, I am impressed that such a large number of people have opened their wallets to buy backpacks and supplies for those in need. Salvation Army Captain Lisa Aird said she’s seen an increase in need in the area’s families. She’s hoping to collect hundreds of packs before Aug. 12 when the distribution to needy families will occur. Even local businesses are getting into the act. Restaurants such as Big Spoon Yogurt in Roseville is handing out coupons for a free frozen yogurt for the first 50 people who donate school supplies to the Salvation Army on the 12th. The Westfield Galleria is also partnering with the Salvation Army by supplying a “big yellow bus” located in the malls’ center court through Aug. 15 for the public to drop off school supplies. For those who prefer, monetary donations can be mailed to The Salvation Army of Roseville, at P.O. Box 1372, Roseville, CA 95678 or donate online at www.salarmyroseville.org. If a more hands-on approach is your style, local soup kitchens are always in need of donations and volunteers. Just last week while volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul to serve lunch, I was struck by the giving attitude of the volunteers making and serving the meal as well as the grateful attitude of the people we served. “Thank you so much,” and “This is delicious,” was echoed by many throughout the afternoon. I believe things happen for a reason. Maybe this down economy is forcing us all to take a look inside and see what we can give to those in need. Whether it be a monetary donation or a physical contribution of your time, give what you can. You never know when you might be on the receiving side. Susan Belknap can be reached at susanb@goldcountrymedia.com.