Spread some holiday cheer

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 6, 2003

On Thanksgiving I spent a little time with a group of people who were spending their holiday helping others.

I’m referring to the annual Dinner on the Hill that was created as a ministry of Bethel Chapel AME Zion.

The person who came up with the idea, Gloria Warren, welcomed me into the serving area where I was amazed at the number of volunteers working on the project.

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There were people from all socieconomic backgrounds that were there not to further an agenda, but to help.

Of course, the prep work for the program begins several days prior to the actual big day.

By seeing this group of people pull together, I was reminded how important is it to be involved with a community service project, especially during the holidays.

When you think about it, it doesn’t have to be a major project to change our community.

It can be something as simple as volunteering to pick up trash on the roadside.

There are opportunities for people to help others learn to read.

When you think about it, where would we be today if no one every took the initiative to do something in their community?

There would be no Habitat for Humanity, humane shelter, scoutmasters, den mothers, PTA partipants.

I don’t want to sound like a George Bush’s &uot;Thousand Points of Light&uot; spokesman but when you think about it, it’s that easy.

I spent time talking to the people on Thanksgiving and it caused me to realize that I need to do more for others.

I’m a part of the community and by that alone, I must be doing something to improve the quality of life for my friends and neighbors.

Something really special for me was a few moments I spent chatting with two of Greenville’s new Korean residents.

They were there, as one said, to help those in need.

Here were two women, in a new country for not very long, and they were out there in stormy weather dishing up food for shut-ins and the elderly.

So if you do nothing else, next year, contact Warren and ask her how you can help.

Move your own Thanksgiving meal back an hour and go out there and help out spread some holiday cheer.

Watch the thankful smiles and then go home and you’ll realize how lucky you are, and then you will really be thankful.

Before that though, find yourself a local civic group and join them.

Put yourself out there and come out of the dark.

Because as I learned from Gloria Warren and her merry band of volunteers, it is better to be a single point of light than to stand and scream at the darkness.

Jay Thomas is Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers. He can be contact by calling 383-9302, ext. 136, or by email: jay.thomas@greenvilleadvocate. com.