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Rudolph guided the way. Now it is your turn to do the same.
As Christmas nears, tree leaves – at a frantic pace – fall to the ground eagerly waiting a gas-powered blower to reshuffle their landing spots. Our weather abruptly went from a balmy South Georgia April-type pattern to an igloo-building North Pole-type pattern.
Cooler temps rushed in just in time for Sylvania’s annual Christmas Extravaganza earlier this month making it more like how the holiday season should be.
It is difficult to get into the spirit of the season when it is warm enough to wear a hula skirt and lei.
The arrival of the recent gusty crisp December weather induces images of Santa being pulled by a mighty group of reindeer. We never seem the need to talk about reindeer when the sidewalk is hot enough to fry an egg.
In Gene Autry’s famous Christmas song “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” a verse goes “They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.”
Well Rudolph, the Extravaganza had “reindeer games” and I know you would have been allowed to play. We wanted everybody to play.
With its neighboring high school FCCLA members on the other side of the parking lot behind the Screven County Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Screven County hosted the “reindeer games.”
The kids who came by the game area had a blast tying ribbons on presents; squirting the flames off candle wicks with water guns; ringing a reindeer’s antlers; and finding winning Santa-cap wearing rubber duckies in a miniature pond.
While the games were fun, there was an underlying purpose – United Way board members like to be whimsical and possibly even goofy at times, but raising money to make the lives of our community’s residents better is serious business.
Helping those who lost their home to a fire is serious. Trying to pay for medical prescriptions while you are unemployed is serious. Providing blankets to the elderly during the winter is serious.
As the song from ole cousin Gene goes, Rudolph with his ultra-wattage red nose saved Christmas for little boys and girls. That honker lit the way through a soupy night for Santa and his sleigh.
“Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”
If a perk rounded fire engine-colored nose can rescue the most cheerful of all cheerful days of the year from the depths of doom, can you imagine what a dollar or two from you and the same from your neighbors could do for community members down on their luck?
Ninety-nine percent of all the money donated to the United Way of Screven County stays in Screven County. Yes, 99 percent.
There is a mountain of wonderful opportunities for you to help others, especially at this time of year. As I peer across the room, I have a clear view of a donation box for toys for Hiltonia Head Start children. Another effort of Toys for Tots has two local drop-off locations – the Sylvania Ford dealership and the state patrol barracks. I will be the first to applaud these efforts to increase the happiness of children.
I urge … no, I plead with you to donate toys to these causes. But before you slide your wallet back into your pants pocket or purse, keep out a few George Washingtons, maybe an Abraham Lincoln, or possibly an Andrew Jackson to give to United Way which supports 21 local agencies.
So much more can be done to improve the lives of others not just on Dec. 25, 2010, but well into 2011. A pledge to United Way is a way to do just that.
When Christmas has come and gone, people still will need food; people still will need clothing; and people still will need the other basic necessities of life. That is where United Way comes in like Rudolph with his brilliant beacon of cherry-tinted light shining the way.
A lot of our Screven County brethren are in dire straits right now. Your local United Way board wants to be able to help those suffering. Just like Santa gave Rudolph a chance that Christmas Eve, you have to give United Way a chance and you can donate by giving whatever you feel in your heart is right.
Honestly, the money isn’t there thus far in this 2010 campaign to handle the growing need in our community, but with your help United Way can make the dollars work for you.
The more times United Way helps get people back onto their feet, then the more your community blossoms. For each and every Screven Countian who is better off financially, that means there is another person who can give back to strengthen this community through the United Way program.
I will say it again: It is about neighbors helping neighbors.
On that foggy night, Santa needed help. The other reindeer needed help. A task needed to be completed and it needed a special addition. On that night, the special one was a reindeer named Rudolph.
Can you please be that special one who helps guide United Way to its goal of $85,000 this year? I assure you that you will make someone else’s life special.
“Then how the reindeer loved him
As they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
You’ll go down in history.”
Let’s make history Screven County. Let’s make history.
To make a contribution to your community through United Way, call 564-5770; visit the office at 205 Mims Road in Sylvania; or mail a check to United Way of Screven County, P.O. Box 27, Sylvania GA 30467.
Thank you for giving hope a helping hand.
Enoch Autry is the publisher-editor of the Sylvania Telephone.