A wish for 2018 and beyond

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Before the 2017 holiday season recedes to a distant glittering speck, here’s a bow on that splendid package, and a wish for the new year.

The bow is colored with deep appreciation to the many hundreds of people who contributed to the highly successful Press Christmas for All campaign. Having just completed its 32nd year, Press Christmas for All assisted 7,288 Kootenai County residents who needed a holiday hand with presents and food for their families. This IRS-recognized nonprofit does more than assure every penny raised will go to needy local families; it actually gives out more than it takes in.

When donors contribute, say, $180,000 during a campaign, Press Christmas for All will take that money and purchase $90,000 in gift cards from Super 1 Foods and $90,000 in gift cards from Shopko. These wonderful partners then give Press Christmas for all $99,000 in gift cards — a 10 percent donation of their own to the program. Therefore, when the campaign raises $180,000 cash from contributors like you, Super 1 and Shopko ensure that $198,000 is actually distributed. You won’t find another program around that stretches donor dollars better than that, especially because there is no overhead. A volunteer army from The Press, The Hagadone Corp., Kootenai County Fire & Rescue, the City of Post Falls Parks and Recreation Department and the Coeur d’Alene Library does all the work, and incidental expenses are covered by The Hagadone Corp.

Now then, the wish for 2018 and beyond addresses the core issue, which is the need that is so prevalent in our community. Very, very few of the recipients of Press Christmas for All generosity subscribe to this newspaper, and fewer still even read it. So word of mouth and social media will be important carriers of this hope.

The wish is that more people are able to use these little hands-up as encouragement to improve their lot in life. Every single one of us faces potential disaster and challenges we struggle to overcome. What’s important is that we do all in our power to meet these challenges head-on. Improving our marketable skills is an ideal step in the right direction, with terrific, affordable training and education available right here at North Idaho College. In some cases, seeking assistance of a spiritual or emotional nature will turn the tide of desperation. In every case, initiative must come from the individual.

Despite a strengthening economy, Press Christmas for All actually served 125 more Kootenai County residents this year than last. Clearly, that’s headed in the wrong direction.

The ultimate reward not just from a program perspective but from a community viewpoint occurs when people who were helped by Press Christmas for All one year put themselves in position the next year to donate to the program, even if the donation is small.

In 1759, the pioneering Scottish economist Adam Smith wrote:

“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.”

True then; true now. Better to give than to receive.

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