Upfront Nov / Dec 2012
Don't forget those in need this holiday season.
Photo by Steve Bracci
Anticipation of the holidays fills me with both excitement and a twinge of anxiety. So much to do before year’s end, it’s always a bit of a juggling act to assure everything is just right and in place by Christmas morning.
Truth be told though, it’s gotten much easier for me over the past few years. I’m finally past the days of racing around to fill every item on the gift list. In fact, it’s actually become a bit of a challenge to identify something that will truly surprise and delight the folks on my short list. But that isn’t a bad thing. It’s perhaps just an indication that as we’ve all gotten older we’re more satisfied with what we have and less influenced by the commercialism of the season. As a result I find myself with more time to focus on things like cooking special meals, attending a holiday concert and taking a moment to sit by the fire and enjoy the lights on the Christmas tree while contemplating the bounties life has given me.
In the spirit of the season of giving it occurs to me we all need to take an hour, an afternoon or a day to give back to this remarkable community we all are fortunate to call home—to share the gifts of time and talent and money. Many of us already do that. It’s one of the reasons Augusta is such a special city.
There are lots of opportunities to give of your time. If you’ve not done so, I urge you to visit www.augustavolunteers.com. It is an easy to navigate, comprehensive snapshot of the many non-profit organizations that will benefit from your time and effort. You’ll find the expected national non-profits such as the Golden Harvest Food Bank, Goodwill and Ronald McDonald House as well as some lesser known but equally worthy groups like Soap Hope and Diamonds in the Ruff. There are even volunteer opportunties at such places as the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, the Augusta History Museum and the Augusta CVB. No matter your unique skills and interests you’re sure to find your niche.
The website is the brainchild of Angela Maskey, who launched it in 2000 when, during the course of coordinating volunteers for a big event, she realized not only the needs of the city’s non-profits but also the desire Augustans have to volunteer. She has been maintaining the site, which is sponsored by Jim Hudson Lexus, since then. In the stroke of a key you can view not only all the organizations that need volunteers, but you can also sign up for one. There are links for wish lists, resources, recognition and even a community calendar. And there is, of course, a Facebook page on which Angela posts upcoming volunteer needs almost daily. It could not be simplier to get involved. And she promises that all you have to do is volunteer once and you’ll be hooked for a lifetime.
So find a minute in your busy holiday schedule to visit augustavolunteers.com. It could well end up being one of the most memorable gifts you give this Christmas and one that will continue to give for years to come.