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Give back by helping those less fortunate

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Giving back. We hear these familiar words often, especially during the holidays.
But the holiday season affords us a chance to live those words.
In Lancaster County, the opportunities are endless. Take your pick because there are several ways you can help someone less fortunate.
What about the Angel Tree? Often during this time of year with its hectic schedule, you might be dining out at an area restaurant. If so, look for an Angel Tree. Look over the tree and find a way to make a difference for a child.
One restaurant that supports the Angel Tree is Gus’ Family Restaurant. Find a card, take one and provide an age-appropriate gift for the child. This act of kindness is a great way for a family to show a child the true meaning of Christmas.
“It’s very important for the children to have the Christmas that they deserve,” said Linda Carter, manager at Gus’.
The Angel Tree is handled through Christian Services and Marcine Bufford assists with the program. She can recall a time when her family was on the tree, but with the power of prayer and improved health, Bufford is now making a difference for other families.
There are other ways to help.
HOPE of Lancaster has kicked off its “$1 challenge” campaign. Director Elaine Adkins suggests that local folks forego that soft drink or snack and instead donate the money to boost HOPE, a charitable organization that supports families with food and funds for utility bills and rent.
Those small sacrifices might not seem like much, but when they are done by a group of people, it makes an impact.
An idea might be to take the money that would be used for an office or Sunday school holiday party and use it for a donation to HOPE. Another idea is to have a challenge between departments at a work place to raise money for HOPE.
Adkins said she sees plenty who want to make a difference.
“We just had someone come in this week with $1,000. We had one gentleman come in with $100 and said this is from me and 99 other people,” she said.
“We had one landlord come in and pay $1 for every tenant in his building. Great things are happening.”
The Ward Faulkenberry Christmas Basket Fund is another way to help the less fortunate who come to HOPE. This program, through donations in the community, provides food vouchers to those in need.
There are those in need all across the county – from Indian Land to Heath Springs.
Those in need of food in Indian Land can go to the food pantry at Belair United Methodist Church.
Those in the Kershaw and Heath Springs area can participate by helping KARE – Kershaw Area Resource Exchange.
KARE,  like HOPE, reaches out to those in need. It  assists with clothes, crisis assistance, food and other giving programs in the south end of our county.
Donna Hartley, KARE’s director, said folks are helping.
“We are seeing a lot of support,” she said. “We’ve been really grateful for the support we’ve seen.”
Each is a worthy cause to help those who might otherwise go without. The opportunities are endless to help, so step up and reach out to make a difference.
We realize money is tight for may of us this time of year, but donations don’t always have to be monetary. Try giving your time, if you have nothing else.
Any donation, no matter how big or small, will be greatly appreciated and rewarded by the knowledge that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. Remember, ’tis better to give than to receive.