Guest Columnist

Four Oaks: Make this holiday season about 'we,' not 'me'

The Gazette asked Eastern Iowa nonprofit leaders to write about the changing needs of our community in 2020

Anne Gruenewald, President and CEO of Four Oaks, at the Dummermuth Intergenerational Center at Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids
Anne Gruenewald, President and CEO of Four Oaks, at the Dummermuth Intergenerational Center at Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids on Friday, August 19, 2016. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

While everyone wishes that the challenges of 2020 were over, it has been abundantly clear that we have needed each other: to help each other recover from the derecho, to keep each other safe from the pandemic, and to better understand and support each other’s differences.

And because 2020 is not over, this year’s holidays also will be very different: many families are not able to gather in person, events are being postponed or conducted virtually, and gifts may be given indirectly. Sadly, missing these opportunities to spend time and give thanks with those most dear — can lead to more isolation, fear and loneliness. More me, more us vs. them.

But it doesn’t have to — it can be about we. Here are some ideas about what we can do to help, live our gratitude and give back during this critical time.

• To help those closest to us, we can reach out via phone, email or video conference to check on our family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers to show that we care and offer help if there are concerns.

• To best understand the needs in our community, we can learn about nonprofit organizations that are working to help safely and effectively. The Gazette Gives Back is an excellent source for a list of those organizations and their missions.

• To multiply the awareness and impact, we can identify an important nonprofit cause, share why it’s important to us with others, and post the ways others can also help on social media.

• To be generous to those in our community who have the greatest need, we can donate food, furniture, household goods and clothing.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

• To make giving easier, we can use donation sites like Amazon Smile Charity lists that allow you to search for your favorite organization and find its list of most-needed items, purchase and have the donation delivered directly to the charity’s door.

• At Four Oaks, we invite you to join us in helping kids in need receive holiday gifts, provide basic support for vulnerable families, and uplift core neighborhoods: https://fouroaks.org/you-can-help.

During this most wonderful time of a very challenging year, we can all help by connecting, reaching out and uplifting giving opportunities. We can support our neighbors and community, while keeping our family, friends and neighbors safe and well.

Anne Gruenewald is president and CEO of Four Oaks.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.