The weekend brought out shoppers in droves, and I couldn’t help but ask myself where all the holiday money was coming from. With jobs scarce and credit cards maxed, what gives? Didn’t I just read something about a double dip recession? You’d think whatever we had left, we’d be socking away.
To make matters worse is that the bulk of the shoppers were at the mall. Corporate chains devour our local dollars and continue to obliterate our communities unique main street (and yes, even main street carries the majority of its items made in China. I will get into that at some other time). Even the most aware are in search of a bargain during the holiday season. For that, I say bah humbug. What’s it going to take to turn this ship around?
Raising a young child and struggling with our odd urge to consume as a society, I developed a recourse to my sons wanting with a catch phrase that seemed to say it all. “Don’t be greedy. Be grateful”. Saying this over and over again for the past several years is paying off. At five years old it’s all I have to say to him when he wants something that he really doesn’t need. He’s even saying it back to me when the same applies in reverse.
So, in the spirit of not being greedy but grateful, consider this:
1. 12.4 % of New York State Residents struggle with hunger.
The Queens Galley
2. Nearly 2.7 Million New Yorkers live in Poverty. That’s approximately 14.2% of the population.
Family of Woodstock
3. Nationwide, millions of dogs and cats are abandoned in rural and urban areas.
SPCA of Kingston
4. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older (about 1 in 4 adults) suffer from a mental disorder. This translates to about 57.7 million people. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the US and Canada.
Chiz’s Heart Street
5. Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
Family Domestic Violence Services
6. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Adolescence who are rejected by their families are 8.4 times more likely to report having an attempted suicide attempt, and for every completed suicide attempt, it is estimated that 100-200 are made.
The Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center
7. Residents of many US Cities lack adequate access to parks and open space near their homes. Community gardens increase residents sense of community ownership and stewardship, provide a focus for neighborhood activities, expose inner city youth to nature, connect people from diverse cultures, reduce crime by cleaning up vacant lots and build community leaders.
The Kingston Land Trust
8. Buy a subscription to our local paper.
9. Support the O + Festival by making a donation.
If you don’t find something here that is important to you, take a moment and ask yourself what is. You’re bound to find an organization doing great things locally that could use a hand. Google it – and better yet, share it with us in the comment section of this post.