Consider giving the gift of warmth this holiday season

Nov 29, 2013

As the winter cold settles in, and many are cuddled up by their wood stoves or heat vents, it’s a fitting time to consider how cozy home life would be without the warmth.

Unfortunately, there are many in Haywood County who simply can’t afford a well-insulated home and don’t have the money to buy heating oil, propane or pay the high electricity bills to keep their home warm.

In past years, federal and state funds were made available to help out, but as budgets get tighter, the pool of public funds is dwindling.

That’s why efforts such as the Haywood Christian Ministry golf tournament, where 100 percent of the proceeds help the winter heating program, or the Mountain Projects wood program where volunteers chop and deliver wood for those with fireplaces or wood stoves, or the Haywood Christian Emergency Shelter, which offers a haven for those without a home or warm place to stay during the winter, are so important.

Another way to help out is the Million Coin Campaign: Cash Conquers Cold, which is wrapping up after a year and a half.  The plan was to gather 1 million coins in a single location to help out with winter heating efforts and to also illustrate how much 1 million on a single commodity, which is coins in this case, really looks like.

Unfortunately, the goal is far from being met. The box capable of holding 1 million coins is only one-quarter full.

But winter is upon us, and the campaign organizers are worried that prediction of an unusually cold winter along with the drastically reduced state and federal funds, make it imperative to put the money where it will do the most good.

There is still time, however, to gather up the loose coins in your home, you pocket or our purse and drop them by the lobby of the Waynesville Municipal Building. The million coin box is within eyesight of the Waynesville Police Department, which provides 24-hour security for the contributions.

Or, many churches are being asked to make one final plea for loose change to bring to the box. If your place of worship is one that takes up the challenge, know that your gift will go where it is greatly needed.

Poverty is a reality in our community, and many wear layer upon layer of clothing in their home, wrap their children in blankets and keep the heat at 55 degrees during the night just to keep their heating bill low.

Many of those who receive help are disabled veterans, our elderly living on a fixed income or those without means to increase their incomes. A gift to any of the agencies dedicated to helping spread warmth this winter will be one well-placed. If a large gift is out of reach, even a few coins will help.