by Venta Rutkauskas

Bright lights twinkle on the trees, while the icy winds begin to blow. Here comes winter, and with it our lead-up to the holiday season. The predominant Christian culture of Christmas has evolved into so many ideas about celebrating, it can be galling to find a calm centre in the midst of the busy preparations for this time of year. Yet many choose this time to reflect on gratitude and abundance by focusing on the act of giving.

A community that cares is built on a foundation of awareness: an understanding of who is prosperous, who struggles and how. When the evaluation of the community includes the underprivileged, those who are in a place of privilege have an opportunity to share resources, both physical and emotional. The act of giving, or the practice of altruism, has been shown to benefit the giver in profound ways. According to a Psychology Today article titled Helper's High, as a giver, your brain is flooded with endorphins, physical health improves,  personal gratitude increases and self-confidence is boosted. 

So here's your chance to reap the benefits! The Community Arts Council Giving Tree is in its third year, and we are soliciting donations from the community. We will gratefully accept scarves, tuques, socks, gloves and mittens, anything warm and cozy, really. Especially socks! All of the donated items are wrapped up and hung on select trees around Williams Lake, including a very popular location in Boitanio Park. In the past two season, we've distributed several hundred items to those in need, and look forward to doing it all again this winter.

winter-2896970.jpg

Founded by our Secretary/Angel, Sharon Hoffman, the Giving Tree is also being supported by the DowntownWilliams Lake Business Improvement Association. Sharon's dedication to this project sees her and a few volunteers carefully assess the donations for quality, wrap each item individually and hang the items in the cold. She has seen the items taken as fast as she can hang them up, and the recipients are appreciative.

Donations are being accepted at the Delainey's Centre Mall on Oliver Street, at the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Centre on the corner of 4th and Borland (10-2 pm Mon, Tues, Wed and Thurs) and at the Potato House during the Winter Lights Festival this Saturday, Decemeber 2nd. The box at Delainey's and the Arts Centre will be accepting donations until the end of February.

While it isn't in everyone's power to give, those who are able may choose to do so in many ways. Whether you volunteer, fund raise or donate, thank you for making the world a little sweeter. during this season of giving. To quote Cat Stevens, "Ooh baby, it's a wild world. It's hard to get by on a smile..." 

 Photo by Laureen Carruthers

Photo by Laureen Carruthers