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The anti-Scrooge: A stake in the community

No one wants to turn into a Scrooge, the classic miserable old fool. He obviously was not enjoying life. He was holding on so tightly to his money that joy completely eluded him. His selfishness isolated him from friends and family. And he tried to make sure everyone around him was unhappy too.

Bah humbug. Isn’t it interesting that everyone immediately identifies the miser as the villain of the tale? Why is it that nobody cheers for Scrooge? I think it is because everyone instinctively knows that a person who isn’t generous is missing the boat.

Why is giving so important? Why do we feel better about ourselves when we give? There is something about giving and giving generously that is a healthy part of being human. In fact, I would go so far as to say that every community is defined by its giving.

The River Center Board and I have been discussing why it is so important that we be supported by the gifts and donations of the people who live in our community. We have concluded that it is of paramount importance. Why? Because when you give, you care. When you give, you become part of our team. One supporter told me she and her husband were our cheerleaders. Thank you! We need cheerleaders. We need community members who will come alongside us as we serve the community. In short, we need to do this together. Caring — giving — builds community.

I am so thankful for those who support the work of The River Center — both by their financial support as well as their volunteer efforts. We are able to offer wood from our wood bank because of the gift of volunteer work that has been poured into cutting, hauling, splitting and stacking this wood. We offer free tax preparation services because of the two dozen volunteers that come every winter to be trained, tested and complete the tax returns, their gift to our community. We kept the rain out of the building because a volunteer patched the hole, another gift. We filled the oil tank because people gave us money to keep our building warm and welcoming for those we serve. We offered scholarships to parenting classes because of your donations. Our Employment Specialist was able to help with resumes and job search skills because individuals gave to The River Center so that this service is free to our participants. Our home visitor is able to visit at risk pregnant young women in their homes all over the region because of your financial gifts. Because you give, much can be accomplished.

A community that gives generously to support each other is a great place to live. I want to know that if my house burned down, if I have questions about how best to parent my child, if I am out of work, if my world fell apart, there are people and organizations here that will step up and help me.

We all know neighbors or family members that use or could use the services of The River Center. Do you know someone who is a parent? Do you know someone who is pregnant and needs support? Do you know someone who is looking for work? Do you know someone or do you need to be connected to some kind of services in our community? I know you have answered yes to at least one of these questions. Give us a call at 924-6800 or go to www.rivercenter.us.

I love being part of this community. This past week I had meetings in New Ipswich, Rindge, Jaffrey and Peterborough. Everywhere I go there are wonderful people who care about our community. They are passionate about making the Eastern Monadnock Region a great place to live — for every one of our residents. The River Center is a family and community resource center here for you, your family and your neighbors.

This holiday season, I invite you to be the anti-Scrooge. Please give. Give generously. Your gift to The River Center brings hope to someone you know. And that, my Friend, will bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart.

You can give on-line at www.rivercenter.us by clicking on our Donate Now button or send a check to 46 Concord St. Peterborough 03458.

Thank you and happy holidays everyone!

Margaret Nelson is the executive director of The River Center. Reach her at mnelson@rivercenter.us or 924-6800.

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