TERRE HAUTE —
The holiday season is upon us and I have to say that even though it is hectic, it is a great time of year. The generosity of this community — apparent now and throughout the year — is demonstrated in so many ways.
As a board member of the United Way of the Wabash Valley, I am able to see firsthand the great deeds of the member agencies in our communities. The support that community members provide through their time and treasure is heartwarming.
Inserted in the Tribune-Star this past Thursday was a Holiday Wish List compiled by the Wabash Valley Community Foundation. It is a charitable giving guide that highlights the nonprofit organizations in Clay, Sullivan and Vigo counties. I would suggest that you browse it to see all of the wonderful works occurring right here.
It outlines what your giving means to these agencies and how they are putting your donations to work. If you missed it, you can go to tribstar.com to read about some of the charitable opportunities.
Of course, another great holiday tradition is the Tribune-Star Christmas Basket Fund. This fund was established sometime in the 1950s and continues today. Around Thanksgiving, community members begin sending in donations and on Christmas Eve, food baskets are delivered to needy families in the area. In conjunction with the Salvation Army, the names of those needing assistance are submitted to the Christmas Basket Fund committee.
Volunteers then deliver the baskets on Christmas Eve morning. The day before, a group of volunteers comes together at the Tribune-Star production facility to pack the boxes with food, including a ham, cans of vegetables, dinner rolls, milk, a pumpkin pie and other tasty food items that will ensure these families will have a good holiday meal.
This will be my fourth Christmas season in Terre Haute. I have delivered baskets every year and am humbled each time. I am thankful for the blessings that I have in my life with a healthy family, good community neighbors and the best job in the world. My family and I talk about our blessings and our opportunity to help others during delivery. The generosity of people in this community is boundless, and it is apparent with the gifts for the baskets and the volunteerism during assembly and delivery.
This year, we are giving out 100 more baskets so that 600 families will be recipients. The effort is truly a community-newspaper partnership:
• For the first time, we have partnered with Beth Tevlin and the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, and your tax deductible donation now can be sent to either the Tribune-Star or to the Foundation.
• Bob Baesler at Baesler’s Market helps us to stretch those donations to buy as much food as possible.
• Jason Grinley at B&B Foods furnishes us the refrigerated truck in which to store the baskets until Christmas Eve morning.
• Boo Lloyd is generous in working with us for the breakfast items that volunteers can dig into on Christmas Eve morning at the Tribune-Star’s downtown office.
• I also want to recognize the hard work of Kim Wilkerson in the Tribune-Star accounting department and Michelle Poorman in the Tribune-Star circulation department for coordinating everything from food to volunteers to the list of donors to delivery routes. They work all year long to ensure that we can provide those food baskets each Christmas Eve.
I am proud of this community and humbled to be a part of a great tradition during the holidays. I hope that your Christmas season is filled with great blessings and that we all can take a moment to remember the reason for the season, the celebration of Christ’s birth.
B.J. Riley is the publisher of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at 812-231-4297 or firstname.lastname@example.org.