Be mindful of others this holiday season

People sorting canned food into marked bins.

People sorting canned food into marked bins.

Photo via Olivia Chow/Flickr
Volunteers sort food to give to the homeless community at the Daily Bread Food Bank on Thanksgiving Day 2014. People should be self-aware and kind throughout the entire year, not just during the holiday season.

It’s officially the holiday season!  But in a time where everyone is thankful and giving, what have you done to make your contribution?  I’m not talking about buying gifts for your family and friends or hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but about giving to those less fortunate than us.  Those who don’t have a place to call home or a table full of food surrounded by loved ones to eat at.

As one of the top ranked cities for homelessness in the country, it’s no surprise that when walking the streets of Downtown Reno, you may come across hundreds of homeless people.  Our streets are filled with people not having shelter, food or anyone to share the holidays with. So as a city, we need to ask ourselves what we can do to help the cause? The truth is none of us want to spend the holidays alone and fighting for our lives, so why should they spend theirs that way?  

The City of Reno has opened a temporary homeless shelter for the winter months of the year to give those somewhere warm to stay.  However, there is only 50 beds that are provided. While this is a great direction for the city to start at, we still have a lot of improvement to go.  The City of Reno has so many homeless people, with a rapid growing rate. Just last year, according to the Reno Gazette Journal, “an estimated 40 to 45 people filled the [temporary shelter].  This year, volunteers expect about 50 to 70 people to stay.” If they expect more than 50 people to show up with only 50 beds available, what will they do with the ones who won’t have a place to stay?  Will they have to turn them away? There needs to be more help.

I believe it’s important to give back all year around, but when it starts getting colder and holidays start approaching, it becomes even more crucial to provide for those in need or help in any way.  All around the area, there are soup kitchens, clothes drives and more that everyone can jump in on. There are so many places one can go to donate money or help in some tiny way. Just know that one pair of socks can make someone’s cold winter night just a bit warmer, and one plate of food can give a starving person a meal.  Every bit counts. That $5 you were going to use towards your second Starbucks of the day could instead go towards helping someone in need.

It’s the time to give back, so start giving back.  Your holidays will only be better knowing you did a kind gesture in your heart. 

Photo via Nathan Rupert/Flickr

Volunteers sort food to give to the homeless community at the Daily Bread Food Bank on Thanksgiving Day 2014. People should be self-aware and kind throughout the entire year, not just during the holiday season.

Opinions expressed in The Nevada Sagebrush are solely those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of The Sagebrush or of its staff. Lauren Turner studies journalism and english and can be reached at jaceygonzalez@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.

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