Good deeds should not be limited to the holiday season

Imagine this: You lose your job, your belongings and your home. There is no one to turn to but the passersby on the road. You never thought it would come to this, but you must depend on the kindness of humanity.
But where is this kindness?

Over the holidays, people gathered to be with their families. What’s easy to overlook is that some people didn’t gather at grandma’s house or their own — for these people, the holidays were spent at a local charity, such as the Metropolitan Ministries of Tampa Bay.

For 35 years, the Metropolitan Ministries has provided meals and shelter for less- fortunate families. However, donations were down during the months leading up to the holidays, causing some families to be turned away.

Luckily, the news spread to holiday television viewers and bags of presents and other goods were brought in. The holidays were saved. Families were able to enjoy nice meals while kids played with their donated toys.

Why can’t we set ourselves aside every once in a while? I don’t mean just during the holiday season, I mean year-round.

Is it so hard to spare a buck or two for the homeless man on the corner of Seventh Avenue in Ybor City? Hundreds flock to clubs on the weekends — is it so difficult to spare some change for a needy person on the street? Sure, some people think their charity will be spent on liquor. Maybe they’re right, but people need to be willing to take that chance.
For those with signs that say “hungry,” getting food is just as good as getting money. The gesture of kindness will make both the giver and receiver feel better.

But giving doesn’t have to involve sharing what’s in your wallet or refrigerator. Amid a dreary-looking recession and a tightening job market, sometimes one can’t afford to spare money. If this is the case, donate your time byvolunteering.
For some, it is the season for giving and getting. But more often, it’s the season for forgetting. People forget that there are others who don’t getXbox 360s or cars for Christmas and that some don’t have cozy homes in which to live and celebrate the holiday season.

Those who don’t contribute to or support charities often say that if others work hard enough, they shouldn’t need to turn to charities for help. They say charities let these people think it’s OK for them not to advance their lives and rely on others to provide for them.

But that’s not always the case. Everyone has hardships, and sometimes these struggles leave a person without a home, without food andwithout hope.

There will always be bumps and, sometimes, potholes in the road. Fortunately, there’s often someone driving along with a spare tire and a helping hand. These compassionate and helpful people shouldn’t be any harder to find once the holiday decorations are boxed and shelved.

It’s all right if people can’t spend all of their free time helping the needy. It’s all right if they don’t own big corporations that donate a couple hundred a year to foundations. But if you put your feet in someone else’s shoes — tarnished and tattered as they may be from life’s troubles — you may discover that the pair you have aren’t nearly as scuffed as you thought.
Take 2009 and turn it into a year of giving. Forget saving the toy drop-offs and other Good Samaritan deeds for the later months and make every season count.

Francesca Kerns is majoring in English.