I love Christmastime and have many fun memories from childhood with my family. Now that I’m an adult, I try to do my part to help spread a little of that Christmas joy. I enjoy putting up my Christmas tree while drinking hot chocolate and watching a holiday movie and it’s fun to find the perfect gift for my loved ones, but I also enjoy helping with gifts for others in the community who might need a little extra help this time of year.

There are plenty of ways to give back this holiday season in Sedalia and surrounding areas. The Democrat published an article about area needs in Wednesday’s edition, which would be a great place to start. One of my favorites is Community Santa and I donate in some form to the cause each year. A few times, I’ve given a monetary donation, but for the last two years I’ve dropped off some board games, a needed donation for the organization, according to coordinator Carol McMillin. I love that along with toys specific to each child, families also receive a board game so they can have some fun family time together.

By no means am I a wealthy person, but I have enough to spare for a few extra gifts each December for strangers I’ll never meet because I know they’ll be appreciated. And it doesn’t take much. Walmart has classic board games for less than $10 and I filled my shopping cart with quite a few just before Thanksgiving. Even if you only have the means to buy just one game, that’s one more family that will have a gift to open on Dec. 25.

This year the Democrat has volunteered to host a Giving Tree for CASA in our office. It’s filled with tags that list people’s ages and gift requests. We could use the community’s help getting every tag taken off the tree and presents returned by Dec. 19 so we can help clients living at the CASA shelter after they had to leave their homes due to domestic or sexual violence. They may not be at home this year, but we as a community can help them have a little Christmas joy.

As the saying goes, need knows no season, but we tend to be overwhelmed with charity requests during the holidays. It’s easy to do, but I hope you don’t ignore the social media posts asking for assistance because there are just too many clogging up your news feed. 

Instead, find one that means something to you. Maybe it’s dropping a few coins in a red kettle for the Salvation Army in Sedalia to help clients with emergency needs in 2020. Maybe you’ll pick up a few extra canned goods while shopping at Woods East to place in the food drive bins at the front of the store for Open Door and the Missouri Food Bank. Maybe you’ll volunteer to buy a few items for Cancer Perks’ bags during the organization’s 12 Needs of Christmas. Maybe you’ll find the Community Santa wish list on Amazon and buy a needed item with the click of a button that gets shipped straight to their workshop. Maybe you’ll grab a tag off a CASA tree at one of 10 area businesses and purchase a gift. Or if you don’t have extra funds but do have extra time, the Community Cafe is always looking for volunteers in its soup kitchen and Sacred Heart students need help serving the annual Christmas Eve meal.

No matter what you choose, you’ll be helping a fellow Sedalian in need. 


Nicole Cooke is the editor for the Sedalia Democrat, overseeing all newsroom operations and assisting with news coverage of Sedalia and Pettis County. She can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.

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