Lend a Hand this Holiday Season

Stephanie Cover


Look at the person sitting to your right. Now look at the person sitting to your left. Today, it is difficult to tell who could use a helping hand. It is difficult to differentiate between those who have fallen victim to the wretches of the economy and those who have not.

Growing up in Westminster, I have come to know people from all paths; the fortunate and the less fortunate. I have volunteered at various shelters and have worked in Westminster for four years; I know the people, I have witnessed their struggles. I know what it is like to live from paycheck to paycheck unsure of how I will be able to pay my bills.

In a country that seems to revolve around the holidays, the wintery season is especially important to society because of two big days: Thanksgiving and Christmas. During the year there are many holidays: birthdays, Valentines Day, Easter, The Fourth of July and Labor Day.

The two most significant to Americans are typically Thanksgiving and Christmas. During these two holidays families are united, gifts are exchanged, elaborate meals are cooked, and seemingly everyone is in the spirit for the season of giving.

However, there are families out there, people just like you and me who aren’t in the spirit, people who cannot spend money on gifts and fun meals. These people are the at-risk population in your neighborhood.

This holiday season I urge you to help out. Lend a helping hand to the at-risk population of Carroll County; lend a hand to a friend, a neighbor, a stranger; lend a hand to anyone who could use the help.

You can help by contacting Neighbors in Need of Carroll County, a branch of Human Services Programs of Carroll County, Inc. This program provides families in need with gifts and food during the Holidays, things that many of us often take for granted. This program typically “adopts” families during the holiday. However, HSP and Neighbors in Need encourage any donations, as well as volunteers, to help during the Holiday.

You can also make a difference this holiday season by helping out at the Cold Weather Shelter, another branch of HSP that lasts from November to March. This program helps men and women ages 18 and older by providing them with shelter throughout the winter season. You help by donating necessities that these men and women need or by volunteering your time at the shelter itself. Many people underestimate the power of speech– a few kind words can both turn a person’s day around and provide inspiration.

Whether you can lend a hand by simply spending some of your time at a shelter or sending in gifts to the Neighbors in Need program for a family who could really use the support, I encourage everyone to get out there this holiday season and do something positive. The people in Carroll County—your neighbors and friends, the at-risk population, need your help these next few months. Food for Thanksgiving, gifts for Christmas—anything you can do will help. So get out there! I know I’ll be helping out. They question is: will you?

Contacting HSP or its respective branches is easy and helping out is just as simple. To contact Human Service Programs of Carroll County for volunteering purposes just call 410-857-2999 extension 3060.