One of the local noisemakers was heard on the radio the other day, commenting on how unusually “vocal” the local charities are this year. And, she mused, just what do these organizations do to help these families the rest of the year.
It’s amazing that one could be so negative at this time of year, when the kindness of strangers is visible at every turn.
The most obvious answer to her query is that these charities are “Christmas” charities, which means “Christmas” is their primary focus. You’ll notice it’s not called “Easter Bunny’s List,” or “The Labor Day Food Basket Program.”
On the other hand, these organizations work all year to make sure Rim country families have something to look forward to when the holidays roll around.
And why just at Christmas, she asks?
Also an obvious answer. The state of Arizona, with its infinite welfare programs, does a fair job of sustaining low-income families throughout the year. But when December rolls around, these same people must now find a way to put presents under the Christmas tree. Often a daunting, unbearable task.
So with that in mind, we bring you today’s charity of the moment.
The Rim Country Optimist Club sponsors the student of the month program and Chance Amon Scholarships at Payson Center for Success. The Optimists also sponsor the Juvenile Diabetes Walk in April, and support the Payson High School Rodeo Association, in addition to providing invaluable manpower to other local charities.
Aside from all of that, the Optimists have taken over the Christmas Food Basket Program, and are facing a huge deficit this year.
Jan Parsons, who ran the program for years, said it usually takes about $15,000 to provide food baskets to local families. This year, they’ve raised about $7,000, and the public’s help is desperately needed to make up the difference.
Folks can call 472-6327 for more information about the food basket program. Monetary donations can be sent to Community Food Basket Fund, c/o Rim Country Optimist Club, P.O. Box 360, Payson, AZ 85547.
Now, here’s a challenge to folks who prefer to sit back and chastise the good works of our local organizations: Give from the heart. Give until it hurts. Give until your negative attitude is replaced by the spirit of Christmas.