How to start 2017 on the right track

Christmas is a festive season. Generosity is rampant with organizations bringing Christmas baskets to those in need and volunteers donating their time to spread holiday cheer.

But now that the presents are unwrapped, the paper recycled, the tree put to the curb or back in the box, the turkey and sweets consumed and the new year rung in, those people will still be in need.

Food banks, soup kitchens and shelters will still need to serve the less fortunate. Community organizations will still be meeting the needs of the most vulnerable members of society long after the holiday season comes to an end.

For most of us, Christmas and the New Year represent joy and hope. For many others, it’s a clear reminder that they are alone and/or isolated. Maybe they have family who don’t live nearby or are estranged from their family members. Perhaps they are new to Canada and feel overwhelmed by new customs and traditions while missing their loved ones far away. Maybe they have fallen on hard times and are struggling just to make ends meet.

At West Island Citizen Advocacy (WICA), we experience the joy of Christmas along with our many protégés, but we also see the other side. We see the crises, the emotional turmoil, the melancholy and loneliness.

My one wish for the New Year is that all the generosity demonstrated during the holidays carries over into 2017. I wish for people to continue to reach out to our isolated senior residents, to the disadvantaged, to those suffering from mental health issues, to those struggling with intellectual or physical challenges.

This is where you come in! Start the New Year on a positive note and make a commitment to volunteerism. There are so many people who would benefit from someone like you. It’s the simple acts that make a difference in our community.