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Our View: A world of ways to give in the SCV

Community Service

Posted: November 28, 2009 8:38 p.m.
Updated: November 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Consider this a Thanksgiving postcript.

If there’s one thing that’s a standout about Santa Clarita Valley residents, it’s that they’re a pretty giving bunch, in both good times and lean times.

Early last week, this paper reported on the sparse shelves at the Church of Hope’s food pantry.

On Tuesday, it was down to one turkey to give away for Thanksgiving.

It didn’t take long for a group of members of Copperhill Community Church and Grace Baptist Church to put out the word and pull together $2,000 that was spent on 50 turkeys and other foodstuffs, delivered to the food pantry Wednesday.

This wasn’t a food drive that was planned out and advertised over the course of weeks.

It wasn’t a church campaign to donate food and share the Gospel.

In the space of hours, local residents simply saw a need and responded — Christians living out their faith; your neighbors doing their part to make life a little easier for someone else; humanity helping humanity.

Call it common-sense kindness.

A few dollars here and there don’t go very far; collectively, it added up to good news for the less-fortunate residents of our valley.

That’s part of what living as a community means: Thinking not simply of yourself, but your neighbor as well.

There’s a famous quote somewhere about loving your neighbor as yourself.

John W. Gardner said: “Men of integrity, by their very existence, rekindle the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor.

“We need that belief; a cynical community is a corrupt community.”

So we say “thank you” to the members of Copperhill Community Church and Grace Baptist Church, who modeled that selflessness so effortlessly last week.

May it provoke all of us to live in pursuit of a more perfect union of neighbors.

As more people feel caught in the jagged teeth of hardship, the opportunities for local service remain.

Among those is the chance to lend a hand to the homeless residents of the Santa Clarita Valley.

On Monday night there is an open house for the Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter, which is set to open Tuesday for another three-month season of providing the homeless with a place to enjoy a hot meal, sleep, wash up and get assistance with job-hunting.

If not to find out how you can help the shelter provide aid, at the least attend the open house for a tour and a glimpse at what’s being done to aid the men, women and children who are homeless in this valley.

Operated by the Santa Clarita Community Development Corp. — an outgrowth of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church — the shelter has been operating for more than a decade, serving about 14,000 meals every season.

But it can’t do this work alone.

The shelter is fueled by the energy of volunteers, who give their time, resources and money to help others.

The volunteer base represents roughly 40 local religious organizations — including Lutheran Social Services — and congregations, plus civic organizations, school, service clubs and businesses.

The shelter needs volunteers.

It needs food and supplies.

It needs the community to stand behind its mission, and join in the work of aiding “the tired, the poor” among us.

Again, a little bit here and there doesn’t accomplish much, but collective resources can make a world of difference.

Please consider attending the volunteer open house, Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the winter shelter, located at 26301 Golden Valley Road, next to Los Angeles County Fire Station 104. For more information, including a list of items the shelter needs, visit www.santaclaritashelter.com or call (661) 259-1298.

If the holidays are about giving, then this is a perfect way to put that belief into action.

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