As a kid in Ohio, we could never be sure what kind of costume to wear. We had no idea if we would still be sunbathing at the end of October, or if it would be snowing. One thing was certain — November would bring cold, even if it also included a flash of sunlight.
Recent days in Elkin has reminded me that I may have roamed much farther south of where I romped as a child, but the cold can still be harsh.
Maybe it is because I was at the Your Neighbors’ Pantry in honor of Grandpa and Grandma on that cold morning that I have been so pre-occupied with the thought of what it’s like to be cold.
I mean really cold.
The kind of cold that seeps into you so deep that you shiver hard enough to make your bones ache.
The kind of cold makes it difficult to move because it has settled into old wounds and illnesses making each motion conditional and each step a small miracle.
The kind of cold that layers cannot cure, even if they were available.
I mean homeless cold.
We are fortunate to live in a beautiful town, but sometimes that means we don’t see the ugly. Even though we have such blessings as The ARK and Our Father’s House, there are still those without a place to call home.
Some of these folks are “staying at a friend’s place” or living with a relative. Those are the lucky ones.
Lucky, too, are the ones who have some kind of shelter, even if there are holes in the floor or no electricity.
Sure, some of these people could do better than they are, but some of them don’t have the kind of emotional support or health care they need to even know where to start.
Some of these people are children who have no resources beyond what is handed to them.
Some of these people finally found the courage to step out on their own, maybe even escaping heavy hands at home.
Yes, this is true right here in our cheerful little valley.
I have known firsthand the people who hide their homelessness and horrors. I remember being afraid to confess cold.
As November invites the winter that rests the earth in preparation for spring’s plantings, let us do more than be thankful for those blessings that keep us warm and fed. Let us consider those who are not so fortunate.
In addition to continuing generous donations to Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministries (tric-ministry.com) who help individuals as well as families with heating options in addition to food, I am encouraging other gifts to them and to Your Neighbors’ Pantry (facebook.com/helpinghandsyourneighborspantry) and similar programs.
Hats, gloves, scarves, socks and small blankets are convenient items that can make a world of difference for someone who is cold. Hand warmers used for hunting are also helpful. Mercy and Truth Ministries (mercyandtruthministries.org) is also collecting warm coats for distribution as will I Support My Community (facebook.com/ismc1) during its Stuff The Bus toy drive.
The holidays will bring many requests including requests for your own wish lists. I encourage you to start now considering how you will make a difference this year.
Beanie Taylor is a staff reporter for The Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor or Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.