How disturbing. Especially during the holiday season.
A story we published last week and online, written by Mark Waite and titled “Welfare, food stamp cuts affecting needy,” elicited almost 50 reader comments.
The majority of comments were overwhelming in their negativity.
Viewpoints expressed included such gems as: “It sickens me when I hear Karen Jackson on KNYE when she has sock drives, coat drives, shoe drives, pajama drives, this drives and that drives!!!!! What’s next? Feminine napkins drive? I just do not understand how so many people depend so much on other’s kindness?”
Or this beauty, “The worst recession since Carter and these idiots CONSTANTLY have their hands out asking for another donation. You know how much I have donated since Obama got elected? Zero. It will remain at Zero until he is out of office.”
What the president has to do with helping people in this community is anyone’s guess.
And then of course, this peach, “People pulling up in $20,000 trucks for free food ... disgusting.”
That last was because we included the latest food giveaway at Path of Hope in our story. I guess if I’m broke and a guy offers me a ride to the giveaway in a $20,000 truck I should decline.
Luckily for this community, many of these anonymous readers are dramatically nonrepresentational of Pahrump as a whole.
People in this community work hard to take care of each other. They don’t deserve to be belittled by a few people with more hatred in their hearts than sense in their heads.
I tell you, one of the best parts of my job, especially around the holiday season, is to edit stories about people in this community helping others. Lumps form in my throat a lot around this time of year. I get teary even.
I try not to show it to my co-workers, but it’s true. I can’t help it.
When I read about all the volunteers who delivered meals on Thanksgiving to the home-bound and homeless in our community, the servers who showed up on Thanksgiving to serve dinner to perfect strangers, 800 perfect strangers, that’s awesome stuff.
Or when Food For Thought realized it should give more food to older kids during breaks in school so that none should go hungry during long recesses, that means something, that means we care. And we do.
Even Pahrump Valley Auto Plaza, letting the Lions Club use its storefront to raise money, hosting its Breakfast with Santa fundraiser.
Or Sullivan’s Pub collecting coins in a plastic bucket since February to give needy kids a bicycle on Christmas morning. How awesome is that?
The Angel Trees in the elementary schools, the Salvation Army and its famous red kettles in front of Walmart, Toys for Tots and the firefighters who collect gifts to give kids who through no fault of their own may not get Christmas this year. Not just awesome, important!
It goes even beyond the holiday spirit of giving.
Just a couple of weeks ago Karen Jackson at KNYE held a radiothon that helped RSVP, the seniors volunteer organization, save its respite care program. For the people who depend on that program for help, that was a huge gesture of kindness.
RSVP, I hear, got enough assistance to keep that program going at least two more years. Super cool.
And it just is endless. It is. So many great organizations and people you will never see or hear who sacrifice, who volunteer, donate money or goods, all over this place.
I tell you, when people tell me this is not a wealthy community, I say sure, if we’re talking about money. But if we’re talking about heart, you don’t get much richer than this place.
It hurts that some vocal few want to tarnish the spirit of this season, the spirit it takes to give to those less fortunate by demeaning our fellow men and women in need. I say walk a mile in their shoes and then come talk to me.
How about for the next little while you just bite your tongue, join the rest of us, and dig a little deeper, pitch some coins into the red kettle, volunteer at a senior dinner, hand out some of those boxes at the giveaway and look those people in the eye with the compassion and humility they deserve.
It doesn’t just help them, it can do wonders for you, too.
Everyone here at the Pahrump Valley Times extends our sincerest gratitude to the many volunteers and donors and clubs and organizations that contribute mightily each and every day to the health and well-being of our community and our collective spirit.
Thank you so much.