Paying it forward this holiday season and throughout the year

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Greetings, this is Josanne Dolloff, State Representative from Rumford.

The holiday season is upon us.  This week is Christmas week. Next week, we will ring in the New Year and look forward to a better 2020.

For many, the holiday season is a time to give thanks, spread joy and spend quality time with family and friends. It is a time of hope and optimism.  

For others, it can be a difficult time. 

Perhaps dealing with the loss of a loved one, or people who are far away from us. 

It can be a time of stark contrasts between the ability to give and the reality of human needs that are unmet.

This part of life is present throughout the year, but holidays like Christmas and New Years’ our losses and burdens can be felt more acutely.  

It is a good time to pause for a moment and reflect.

Many use that reflection to praise God, give thanks, give a little more by resolving to contribute more to others in the coming year.

A growing number of people will be seeking ways to lower stress in the New Year.

I have found that, for me, giving to others reduces my stress and gives my life a greater meaning and sense of purpose. 

Whether we volunteer for organizations, offer emotional support for those around us or donate to charities, giving provides a number of health benefits.

Several studies have found that giving:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lessens depression
  • Increases self esteem
  • Leads to a longer life, and 
  • Promotes greater happiness 

Recently, I was moved by a story in the Rumford Falls Times on the Greater Rumford Community Center’s “Pay it Forward campaign.”

It features an interview with my brother-in-law Gary Dolloff, the manager of the Greater Rumford Community Center. The Community Center is a vital organization in the River Valley for youth, adults, senior citizens and there are several businesses.  

The interview was about their “Pay it Forward” campaign.  

The “Pay it Forward” has operated for six years on the strength of community members giving so that others can move forward in their lives. It has helped people and families experiencing a hard time with heating oil, car repairs, taxes and other needs.

My eight year-old grandson, Tucker is part of this wonderful effort. He started last year, asking for donations, and this year, he collected heart shaped rocks from beaches and hikes, then made ornaments to solicit donations. He raised $221 that went to help feed the hungry and keep people warm. 

He is part of an effort to pay it forward by parents and families teaching children the importance of giving and helping a helping hand to others.

This is just one program in one Maine community. 

There are many thousands of similar organizations throughout Maine contributing. 

As parents, think about the impact of involving your kids in making a donation or participating in volunteer work. 

Take them when you volunteer or make donations.

It is so important for others, especially children, to see others giving.

It will create a ripple effect.

As we experience the joy of giving, receiving, and hope for a better New Year, we should reflect on ways to improve the lives of others. 

The good book is instructive in filling our hearts with grace.

2 Corinthians 9:7 encourages us with these words: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

As we approach and experience the new year, keep in mind that human needs and opportunities to give extend throughout the entire year.

Please do what you can to support local charities.

Some other ideas include your local food pantry, organizations that assist foster children, the Red Cross the Salvation Army, your local church, and so many other Maine charities that meet human needs every day. 

There are so many other worthy organizations and causes, too many to mention.

And, one other that is close to my heart, is the animal shelters.

Please remember our furry friends, many of whom are abused or abandoned at this time and throughout the year. 

 The Maine House Republicans salute all those who volunteer their time, money, talents and efforts.

You make this world a better place. 

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  

This has been State Representative Josanne Dolloff with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.        

Thank you for listening. 

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