There is so much bad news in the world: COVID-19 numbers are up, big companies are laying off more people, there are runs again on supplies at the supermarkets.

But there is also so much good news too.  At least two companies are close to a vaccine, we are all still here, the holidays are coming.

Yes, the holidays are good news.  People are more giving during the holidays.  We may have more people that need help, but we have the ability to help them.

Want to give this season?  Child Development Institute has families that need help this holiday season.    North Valley Caring Services provides help to over 100 families along the 101 corridor from Calabasas to Sherman Oaks plus another 300 families in apartments, and that is just their food distribution program. They have many other programs and families served.

So what does it take to be a mensch and help?  It takes an idea, and the desire.   Beyond that, you can handle making a donation.  Money, food, clothes, toys – all of them are needed. 

Some of the neediest families are those that have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.  As a community we can’t focus just on businesses.  Yes, businesses are vital, but if we don’t support our community members there will be no people to support the businesses.

If you can’t afford to adopt a family yourself, what about joining together with your neighbors or members of a community group?  How about the other employees in your company?  You don’t have to do this alone, make it a group project.

There is a well-known business leader in the community that grew up in a needy family.  One year, this person and their siblings received gifts from a local agency.  And this child thought, “Someone cares about me enough to make sure I got this toy.”  That simple gift affected that person’s entire life.  Today that person is one of the leaders in giving back to the community and has been running food and toy drives for those in need.  One little toy, given by one person and it led to a community leader.  Who knows what a donation will do this year?

  You could be the person who gives and changes the life of a child. 

  Imagine the hope you give to the parents who suddenly have the items to have a great holiday for their families.  Imagine the joy they feel watching their children opening presents.  Or eating a great meal.  Or knowing their shelves are full with the goods that will sustain their family for weeks.

     Imagine the feeling you get knowing that you and others fed families or brought joy to a child.  While you can buy the things that make this possible, you can’t buy the feeling without helping others who are less fortunate than you.  It is an endorphin high you won’t soon forget.

       Why not be the reason a child believes that somebody cares?  There is no better feeling than knowing you helped others. It is up to all of us.  We have the power to create that world.  You have the ability to life up those in need and help them through the holidays, through life. 

All it takes is the desire.

Won’t you desire?

Child Development Institute :  818 888-4559 or  cdikids.org   

North Valley Caring Services:    818 891-0481 or   nvcsinc.org.

Laura Levinsky is a life-long resident of the San Fernando Valley and a huge proponent for helping others, especially at the holidays.