Closer to home, Lorna surveys how macroeconomic forces are affecting the actual people who live in the Hudson Valley—those directly affected by job cuts, store closings, less work. She talks with Paul Nawrocki of Beacon, who lost his job as a toy industry executive and now walks the streets of Manhattan with a sandwich board, asking for work. She visits the office of Family of New Paltz and witnesses a woman come in simply hoping to find food for her three children. Not surprisingly, social service agencies across the region are experiencing a surge in clients seeking assistance in recent months. Diane Reeder, who runs the Queens Galley soup kitchen and food pantry in Kingston, says that she has seen a sharp increase in the number of free meals she serves in a month—close to 10,000, up from 1,200 when she opened in 2006. “And it’s not the stereotypical people coming in either,” says Reeder. “My newest clients are not people on social services but people who have jobs, who are looking to stay off social services.”
These people: our neighbors, who could use our help. If you’d like to donate money, here’s the information for Family of Woodstock (which runs programs throughout Ulster County—you can choose which one you’d like to fund) and Queens Galley. There are, of course, many other organizations throughout the region that need funding, and I urge you to donate to the one that best aligns with your principles.
254 Washington Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401
(845) 338-3468; www.queensgalley.org
Family of Woodstock
PO Box 3516, Kingston, NY 12402
(845) 331-7080; www.familyofwoodstock.org
And something else—remember that what you give need not be financial. Organizations like Family of Woodstock and Queens Galley exist because of the many people who volunteer their time. As we watch our time become devalued in this recession—we are worth less to the great economic engine than we used to be—let it be a reminder that time is the most precious commodity. Unlike money, it cannot be hoarded or recouped—we can’t save it for a sunny day. It’s also a wealth we all share in equal portion. How we choose to invest it is up to us. May we do so with prudence and thoughtfulness in 2009.
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