November is a time of year when families come together and give thanks for all of the gifts we have been given. Being reunited with the people we love most should inspire us to help those who are less fortunate, who perhaps haven’t been given the same opportunities or gifts in life. Charitable gestures can go a long way towards building stronger communities and helping those in need.

To advance the effort of charity, my office has been involved with Goodwill Industries of Ashtabula. Goodwill Industries is a company that works to improve the lives of people with disabilities or special needs. It provides education, job training and employment opportunities for people who might otherwise have a difficult time attaining these things. By working with other companies and businesses throughout the area and by opening the doors of possibility for so many disadvantaged members of our community, Goodwill Industries is a leader in providing ways for these individuals to be more productive and to achieve success.

After seeing an article in the Star Beacon asking for help, I had the privilege of visiting Goodwill Industries and making a contribution to help the company continue assisting the people of Ashtabula County. I know that many other people have done the same, or have donated time or money to other valuable charities. Your donations help to expand occupational capabilities, remove employment barriers and educate people to enjoy success in life and in the workforce.

This has been part of a larger effort called “Noble November,” which is a program that assists local communities and towns help the less fortunate, and is designed to honor those who help others. It is no secret that we are witnessing difficult economic times. This can obviously make charitable giving more challenging because we must still find ways to take care of ourselves and our families. Having tighter budgets obviously requires us to reevaluate how we spend our money, but it is still important that we make the effort to give what we can to improve the lives of others, especially during the upcoming holiday season. Every little bit helps.

Being charitable does not mean people have to give money. There are many ways in which we can get involved in Ashtabula County, including donating our time at local food banks, soup kitchens or other organizations. Particularly over the next five or six months, there will be a greater need for warm clothing. If you have clothes that your family no longer needs—coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots—donate them to a local charity and help someone who cannot afford these items. We can all make a difference.

The holidays are a special time of year, full of happiness and good memories. Giving a little of ourselves can help make it an enjoyable time for everyone.


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