Let generosity continue beyond ‘12 Days’

If you subscribe to this paper, it was delivered to your home or business, no matter how small or grand. Be thankful; not everyone has his or her own place to live.

If you are fortunate enough to live in Greenfield, be thankful. Not every city works so hard for its citizens’ best interests.

Considering the Twelve Days of Christmas as the Twelve Days of Greenfield, I was struck by the amazing resources we have in our community.

Let’s begin with the eagle family in a sycamore tree, followed by our two major parades.

The Mayor, Common Council, and Planning Department have the vision for Greenfield’s growth and prosperity.

There are four organizations dedicated solely to the beautification of our city.

And as of this writing there are five downtown nightspots.

Greenfield has six medical facilities; seven fitness clubs; eight schools (seven Greenfield-Central schools and St. Michael Catholic School); nine arts and culture categories; 10 quality-of-life organizations; 11 city parks; and 12 organizations that help those most in need.

It’s that time of year when we most remember our brothers and sisters in need, as bins fill up with toys for children, food is donated and money is stuffed into Salvation Army buckets.

Behind these very public opportunities for giving stands the Hancock County Community Foundation, sitting on the north side of Main Street. If you decide to give to some of the organizations that make our city so great, and that serve those most in need, the community foundation is a good place to start. Staff there know where your money can best be used for your area of interest; they can assist you for short- and long-term giving.

Greenfield has churches of all persuasions. These churches give throughout the year, not only to Greenfield residents but also to people around the world. Greenfield is a giving community.

The strength of our city relies on all the working parts coming together to be the most effective: Government, private sector, business, religious, sectarian. Removing our political party hats allows us to work for the common good — together.

It works the same in the larger world, too.

America is a generous nation. Historically we have been this: sending money and manpower to rebuild countries affected by earthquakes, tsunamis and drought; taking in refugees; protecting victims of war.

Just because a refugee looks different, or has a different religion, or comes from a place we don’t understand, doesn’t make him or her any less a refugee.

Simply put, a hungry person needs feeding. A homeless person needs shelter. A person without a country needs a place to receive welcome. If Americans remove our cloak of fear and remove the glasses that keep us from seeing people as people — not as terrorists, not as thugs, not as takers, not as “others” — we may have a shot at reclaiming our title as the most generous country in the world.

2016 has been characterized by division and discontent. The anger that sits beneath the surface — sometimes resulting in mere name-calling, sometimes erupting into murder — has become so prevalent I wonder if it is now a part of our national character, replacing generosity with fear, openness with tribalism.

When you break it down, life lived by Jesus’ simple words — do unto others as you would have them do unto you — is not as complicated as we make it. I love the phrase “What would Jesus do?” because it brings us back to the simplicity of the Golden Rule.

And what better time to remember this than at Christmas? Greenfield, thank you for acting like it’s Christmas all year long. Thank you for being such a generous city.

Donna Steele of Greenfield is a member of a variety of community organizations aimed at bettering the city, including Greenfield Main Street and the Greenfield Coalition. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfieldreporter.com.