As we draw closer to the holiday season, most of us probably have visions of family gatherings, generational traditions, and meals with relatives around the big dining room table.
But we should also be well aware that the holidays are often an extra-stressful time for many in our community who struggle to make ends meet for themselves or their families.
This holiday season, we must come together as a community to make sure everyone receives the support they deserve. Sometimes, people just need a hand up in times of need. We can all help in our own ways, and I’m fully confident that Minot will respond this year, as we have done every year. I’m thankful to live in a community that prides itself in taking care of each other; it’s one of Minot’s truly endearing qualities and one of the traits that sets our community apart.
It’s heartbreaking when you realize some of our friends, neighbors, and co-workers find themselves in need of help, not only during the holidays, but year-round. How can you help? Well, there are endless organizations and agencies in Minot that welcome our assistance. These agencies help with the essentials of life that most of us take for granted – food, shelter, baby supplies, etc., and their importance is magnified when the holiday season approaches.
If you’re fortunate enough that your family has never truly struggled to make ends meet, that’s great. But I guarantee you we all know someone who has lived through trying times in their life, either now or when they were growing up. Perhaps that someone is you; if that’s true, then you already know what I’m talking about, and you have witnessed firsthand the challenges many residents face every day.
All of us can help, and while I recognize not everyone is able to provide financial assistance to the agencies whose mission it is to help those in need, there are other ways you can benefit your community. It could be volunteering with the Salvation Army or one of our local food pantries. It could be helping an organization that assembles and delivers holiday meals to needy families in Minot. It could be as simple as donating an item to Backpack Buddies or another cause the next time you’re grocery shopping. Or it could be simply visiting your elderly neighbor who doesn’t get out much during the winter months, or shovel their driveway if it’s necessary.
I’m proud that Minot is friendly and supportive, with a spirit more like a small town than a city of 50,000 people. I like it that way. Actually, I prefer it that way, because it means we know our neighbors, but we’re also not afraid to engage perfect strangers in conversation about the weather while waiting in line to order lunch or as we’re leaving church.
As we prepare for the holiday season, there are family friendly community events that help usher in the festivities. That includes a Christmas open house downtown on Nov. 25 that provides an opportunity to visit local establishments from 3 p.m.-8 p.m., including the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. on Main Street near the Taube Museum. Also on that day, the Minot Sertoma Club’s annual Christmas in the Park light event begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs every night until Jan. 1.
There are countless more events that showcase the spirit of Minot, and an endless list of agencies that make Minot a better place to live every day. Let’s enjoy the holiday season, but let’s also be mindful that our neighbor might need a little help during this part of the year. As Minot residents, we can accomplish both of these goals if we simply put our mind to it.
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.