In the spirit of the season

In the spirit of the season

December 8th, 2011 in Opinion Times

As the weather turns colder and the year-ending holidays approach, the tempo of activity for family members of all ages rapidly increases. There are, of course, lists to consult, gifts to purchase and to wrap, trees to either buy or get out of storage, holiday foods to prepare and parties and services to attend. All of that is traditional at this time of year, but the authentic spirit of the season transcends those activities. It is best shared through faith and the love that unites family and friends in what is universally considered to be a season of joy.

It is that gratifying essence that inspires us to share a season of giving and delight with those who have little to celebrate or commemorate. As accounts in this newspaper attest on a regular basis, many readers and other residents of the tristate share their own good fortune by making contributions to the Times Free Press Neediest Cases Fund.

All gifts are appreciated. Together, they help build a fund that will allow the Partnership for Families, Adults and Children, the area's properly honored and most comprehensive and respected social service agency, to subsidize vital portions of its programming during the upcoming year.

During the coming months, the Partnership will use contributions from Times Free Press readers and others in the region to serve those among us who, often through no fault of their own, have fallen upon hard times and who need some form of assistance. Each gift does useful work and each will be acknowledged in the newspaper, beginning Sunday and continuing regularly thereafter through the end of the year. Many contributors ask that their gifts to the fund honor or memorialize loved ones and friends.

The desire to honor or commemorate someone by name, or to contribute anonymously if that is the preference, is in keeping with seasonal sentiment. It provides voice to feelings of love for those who surround us and recalls the memory of family and friends whose loss and absence is felt most keenly during year-end holidays.

We thank donors who already have been so generous - about $12,000 has been raised since the current campaign started on Thanksgiving Day - as well as those who undoubtedly will join them before the season of giving concludes at year's end.

Donations to the Neediest Cases Fund can be mailed to The Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or brought to the newspaper's office at 400 E. 11th St. through the end of the year.

Contributions also can be made online 24/7 at timesfreepress.com/neediestcases. Gifts are tax deductible as permitted by law.