Friday, December 11, 2009

Remembering the less fortunate...

It seems that every year at this time, charities and agencies implore people to remember the needy. This year, more and more individuals are joining those ranks through foreclosure, job loss or myriad other reasons. Luckily, people are still stepping into the void to keep helping those less fortunate than themselves - regardless of the economic climate.

CBS 5 in the East Bay highlighted a woman who has become known as the Lemon Lady for her efforts to distribute excess citrus to poor families in the San Francisco Bay Area. Anna Chan used to drive her colicky baby through her neighborhood to help put the little girl to sleep. Anna noticed all the lemons falling off neighbors' trees and going to waste. So, with permission, she began collecting the fruit and giving it to food banks and pantries in two counties. Later she expanded her reach into farmers' markets, accepting donations of unsold produce.

When cities go through a budget deficit, building infrastructure and making improvements falls by the wayside. Whole city blocks can fall into decay - boarded and broken windows, shadowy figures making "business" transactions on the corner, walls tagged with graffiti. But, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, the denizens of Gordon Street in Philadelphia's Fishtown decided enough was enough. On a shoestring budget (and with a lot of chutzpah), a small band of individuals chased out the drug dealers and prostitutes, painted, wired and improved the empty row homes on the block and turned their street into a place they were proud to live. For their efforts they won the 2009 City's Most Beautiful Block. Going down the street now passersby are unable to tell the empty homes from lived-in ones.

The Coloradoan posted a story on its website about the goodwill of Alpine Cabinet Company in Timnath, Colorado. The company has been affected by the downturn in residential building and had to lay off a quarter of its staff and cut hours. But the Chinn family which owns the company is trying to help the remaining 40-odd employees get through the holiday season by making doll houses for needy children. The employees are sewing curtains and quilts and making furniture for the little homes. An employee's wife is providing the dolls. Suppliers donated lumber and the paint which will cover the outside of the homes. When finished, the 50-70 doll houses will be distributed to local groups to then be passed out to area children.

(Photo courtesy of The Coloradoan)

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