Last Sunday the 4-H Foundation gave me an alumni award. It surprised me, but honored me, as well.
They said it came for my promotion of 4-H. That's a little like giving Santa an award for making children happy. That's what he does. Likewise, I promote 4-H whenever I can.
I know 4-H today isn't anything like it was when I was a member. Well, project availability isn't - friendships and fun still seem the same.
When I was in 4-H more than 45 years ago, I can't remember clubs working together on community projects. Today, those community projects are everywhere, and I can't think of a better change to see. There's a pile of kids out there - and not just 4-H'ers - who really enjoy helping others, especially during the holidays.
That's the spirit of Christmas. A kind of magic. Most people start to feel happy at the sight of lighted snowflakes on light poles in the city or when the outside of neighborhood homes shine in red, green and white lights. And by the time Christmas rolls around, there's a mellow feeling of kinship.
For most people. There are those who don't feel the magic of Christmas, if only because they have no connection with it. They're elderly, they live alone and some have no one to stop by just to say hi or to bring them a small gift of love.
At Bickford Assisted Living of Fort Dodge, residents are a community in themselves, says community relations director Cheryl Sherry. And that community has devised a plan to help those in the Fort Dodge community who are alone during the holidays. They are accepting donations of gift items, then will wrap those gifts and send then along with Meals on Wheels on Dec. 22 and 23 to at least 100 people.
"The elderly are often overlooked during the holiday season because people are focused on the children," Sherry said. "We've teamed up with businesses and organizations to bring happiness and a smile to needy seniors this Christmas season."
That project, she said, is called Elves for the Elderly and will be done with the help of North Central Home Care in conjunction with meals on Wheels. The donations they're looking for include twin or full-size blankets, lap or throw blankets, large-print books and crossword puzzle books or card games.
An Elves for the Elderly wrapping party, with refreshments of course, will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at Bickford Assisted Living, and the community is invited there to help wrap those gifts. Keep in mind, they also could use donations of wrapping paper, tape and ribbons for wrapping, but the greatest gift would be the doing, being there to help.
What a perfect place for young people to get involved - and it's a win-win thing. They'll get to do something worthwhile, but better than that, they'll get to do it while meeting and getting to know seniors who aren't family.
And together, the seniors and youngsters will pass along a lot of love to people who just need to know someone cares.
What a wonderful thing that will be.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org