Adam Madison, The Triplicate

Giving and volunteers made

holidays brighter in Del Norte

The holiday period is behind us for another year. In a time of economic uncertainty, I have seen the giving spirit of the entire community on behalf of those less fortunate within the community.

Starting in November with the community Thanksgiving dinner, there were drives to collect winter coats, Toys for Tots, and food. The Bar-O-Boys responded with handcrafted toys and various businesses had "Giving Trees" where people could pick a tag designating the age and type gift needed for a child in our village.

And who cannot admit that the spirit was there in the community's response to the mother, father and their two daughters whose house was destroyed by fire? The bitter cold of December and January brought out the deepest warmth demonstrated by the Daily Bread Ministry using celebration money to open a shelter for the homeless.

These are just a few examples and do not include many organizational efforts to ease a little cheer into the holidays such as the "Snack Sack" program for the children during school break.

I was privileged to assist in the food drive done by the Boy Scouts of America. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts made a door-to-door distribution of bags one week and collected the donations the following week. My thanks go to those Scouts for their effort, to Safeway for its donation of the bags and over 200 pounds of food. In total, the Scouts collected over 1,700 pounds of food that was used by Rural Human Services Food Bank Holiday Basket program.

Most of all, my thanks go out to the anonymous givers and volunteers who are the life of the spirit that made the holidays a bit brighter in Del Norte County.

Byron Evans

District Committee, Boy Scouts of America

Crescent City

Area homeless soon to be

left without shelter - again

The Christmas spirit is a beautiful thing. The overwhelming benevolence of a small community was so inspiring to me as we at Our Daily Bread Ministries saw a steady stream of new faces come to be a blessing in countless ways to people they've never even met.

But I wonder, as we take down the decorations and vacuum up the last pine needle, why the compassion of most is stored in a box in our hearts and left there until the next year? We are so moved by people being taken care of at Christmas, making sure they have ham and turkey, but what about the next 11 months? What about the days and nights freezing in the cold?

Thankfully, we at ODBM, through the faithful support of a select few, can help some. Unfortunately, the available shelter will be gone soon, as well as the 24-hour support. For many of our clients, the trauma they have gone through needs 24-hour support. Many times it needs more than what we are providing even with the current shelter.

Crescent City needs to know that there is a population here of many broken people needing not only shelter, but an in-house, Christ-centered treatment program for not only addiction and alcoholism, but many other issues as well. Yes, there are many who don't want the help or who won't do the work necessary for freedom, but there are many who do want it and who will work for it.

I was overwhelmed and am so grateful to everyone who gave this past season, from those who gave a jacket to those who gave substantial finances, in the Christmas spirit. I praise God for those who give sacrificially no matter the season to see us feed, clothe, counsel, minister to and provide our recovery program to the many we serve.

But now, after putting away my last decoration and vacuuming up my last pine needle, I am grieved. And more than that, I am scared. I am scared to tears for every person going back out into the cold soon. I am scared for the veterans, I am scared for the bereaved mothers. I am scared for those who want help, and I am scared for those who don't. I thing we all need to be.

Rachel Justice

Crescent City

To fix economy, we should start with health care reform

It's become clear that fixing the economy will be an uphill battle. Companies are closing their doors and employees are not only losing their jobs - they're also losing their health insurance.

Laid-off workers are saddled with a terrifying choice between going without health care or going broke trying to pay for it. This is a decision no American should have to make.

We cannot let our economic problems get any worse, and fixing America's health-care system is the best place to start improving our economy.

Just last year, millions of people lost their job. It's safe to assume that hundreds of thousands more will become unemployed before the economy bounces back.

Without health insurance, more and more families will go into debt paying off medical bills.

When Americans go into medical debt, the result is bad credit, insecurity in the housing market, and even bankruptcy. Our economy is already suffering and cannot afford any more of what got us into this mess.

Health reform is key to bringing ourselves out of this recession.

We cannot fix the economy without fixing health care first. Let's start today.

Ellen Shullaw

Crescent City