The importance of spreading joy during the holiday season
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON | 12/26/2016, 1:18 p.m.
30th Congressional District of Texas
The holiday season is a time of family, community, and celebration. Many of us look forward to this time of year because we have the opportunity to relax and celebrate with our loved ones. While I hope that everyone in the greater Dallas area enjoys a restful holiday season, I want to point out that this feeling is not afforded to everyone. In fact, it is a great privilege.
As a matter of fact, the holiday season can cause more stress than other times of the year. For people who are struggling, the needs of their lives do not take a break in order for them to convene around a Christmas tree or enjoy the tastes of a traditional holiday meal. Buying gifts and working to make ends meet during the holiday season can cause serious setbacks for a struggling family. Some families are forced to choose between having presents under the tree and having electricity for the month. This is a choice no one should ever have to make. And there are many elderly individuals who are often forgotten during this time of the year. However, everyone deserves joy in their holiday season.
Therefore, I want to highlight the incredible and thoughtful work of places like the Salvation Army. Undertaking a massive organizational task and being keenly aware of the difficult decisions some families must make, the Salvation Army collects, sorts and distributes donated gifts to families in order to provide joy to those who otherwise might not be able to have it. This organization’s graciousness allows families across the United States to not be burdened by the cost of giving to their loved ones while trying to maintain the basic necessities in their homes, such as food, running water, heat and electricity.
Just this past weekend, my staff visited the Salvation Army location on Harry Hines Boulevard in Dallas. My staff works very hard to provide thorough solutions and resources that assist people of the 30th district, as well as propose and support legislation that is caring and thoughtful. Yet they were blown away by the dedication and compassion of the staff of the Salvation Army here in our great city. To them, there is still nothing better than a hands-on experience that benefits the people. The staff of the Salvation Army is friendly, the music was festive, and they even did a mannequin challenge!
The holiday season is about family, and Dallas is a great family. So this year, in the spirit of the fine people at the Salvation Army, I urge you to help your greater Dallas family by volunteering for a cause. Dallas is a big city, and homelessness is pervasive and devastating our communities. As the temperatures drop, our city’s homeless shelters will see an increase. And the men and women who come into those shelters for warmth or a meal deserve a joyous holiday season. Dallas is home to many veterans, fine men and women who have sacrificed a lot to protect us. They may be having problems readjusting to life at home or procuring the health care they rightfully deserve. Some simple time spent with these people during the holidays will help them relax and take their mind off of the stress of everyday life for a moment. Whatever the cause may be, Dallas has family members in need, so check out http://www.volunteermatch.org to find opportunities to help your Dallas family.
The holidays are to be joyous, so let us all help spread joy to others. Have a warm and restful holiday season, and a healthy new year.
U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas.