One thing that I have noticed since moving to Faribault County four years ago. There are a lot of caring, giving people here.
I have made mention of it before, but it deserves some new references each year.
Besides, I seem to hear about some new giving opportunities each and every year.
Now, this is all the more remarkable for one simple fact. Faribault County is not the wealthiest place on Earth. Not even the wealthiest in Minnesota. Far from it.
Unemployment figures have been higher than the state average in this county the past several years. So has the amount of poverty, heating assistance needed and families receiving some type of welfare – such as food stamps.
And, over 50 percent of students at Blue Earth Area Schools have family incomes low enough that they qualify for the federal free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs.
Of course, it is precisely because of these statistics that there is such a need here. But having the need does not always translate into people giving to help others.
Except, here it does. Especially this time of year.
Take the KBEW/Darling International You Can Make a Difference Campout. They raised thousands of dollars in donations for the food shelf and the toy drive.
In fact, when the totals were announced they had taken in $17,000 and 2,119 items of food.
I think it is especially heartwarming that the Blue Earth Area Elementary kids donated 1,368 food and toy items to the campout event, as we noted last week.
This week we have stories about the kindergarten students at BEA having a drive called “Christmas Coins for Caleb,” a fellow kindergartner from Milwaukee whom they have never met.
Then there is the story on the front page about the law enforcement personnel taking kids out shopping. Kids who might not have any other chance to buy some needed gifts for their families.
Walmart pitched in a chunk of change to fund the event as did others. But, the officers themselves sometimes dipped into their own wallets and added to the amount each kid could spend.
There are the two Christmas Giving trees set up in Blue Earth that enable local folks to buy gifts for kids who need coats and boots and scarves for winter – not just toys.
There is the coat drive at one local church and the shoebox project at another. There is the community food box project through the food shelf which sends out boxes of food to many local families twice a year.
You will also note a story this week about the MOMS project, sending boxes of goodies to Faribault County servicemen and women at this time every year.
It costs money to do this, both for the items in the boxes and the postage to mail them off.
Organizers say there usually isn’t any problem getting the money they need. Just saying it is for our local troops as they serve their country is enough – the donations are made by individuals and businesses alike.
Need more proof that giving is alive and well in Faribault County? I’ve got some for you...
Two men from Wells and one from Winnebago are raising money for memorials to the veterans of Faribault County towns.
The UHD Auxiliary is purchasing necessary items for the hospital. Youth from the Catholic church went out one night and collected food items for the food shelf. Other youth gathered items for gifts for residents at Parker Oaks.
And what about donating your time?
Can you believe John Engesser and his mother Dolly go up to St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center nearly every single night of the week to entertain the residents of the Alzheimer’s wing? And that they have been doing it for 10 years?
What a gift they are giving – a gift of themselves and their talent.
I could go on and on. These are just the ones I know about and all happened in the past couple of weeks.
At the Register we call this week’s paper our annual “Good News’ issue.
The Good News is that there are so many caring and giving people living in Faribault County.
And, we salute them and say “thank you” to all of them – including you.