With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, people are already getting into the holiday spirit. Some people are already putting up their Christmas decorations, and big box stores have begun advertising their Christmas layaway plans.
But before we all get too caught up in making our Christmas lists and checking them twice, I think it's the perfect time to remind our readers of all the opportunities that exist to help make the holidays brighter for those less fortunate than ourselves.
I hope you'll consider contributing or volunteering to assist with one or more of the projects listed below.
* Donate a coat to the annual Knights of Columbus coat drive. New and gently used coats for children and adults can be dropped off at Top Hat Cleaners in Monett.
* Donate non-perishable food items to the Monett Jaycees Thanksgiving basket food drive through Nov. 20. Drop boxes for donations are located at Ramey, Save A Lot and the US Bank location on Broadway.
* Fill a shoebox full of toys and other gifts in support of Operation Christmas Child. Blessings Book Store on Broadway in downtown Monett is your local drop-off point. Boxes will be collected all next week.
* Get involved in Senator Jack Goodman's third annual Season of Hope food drive. Food collection boxes are set up locally at First State Bank locations on Cleveland in Monett, at the Walmart Supercenter and in Purdy.
* Plan to run in the Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving morning at the First United Methodist Church in Monett. Proceeds from the event will benefit Crosslines, Loaves and Fishes and The Community Kitchen.
* Donate toys through the Barry County Sheriff's Angel Tree campaign. Names of children in need in Barry County have been placed on a Christmas tree at the sheriff's office in Cassville, and local businesses, civic groups or individuals wishing to adopt a child or an entire family may stop by the office to get the necessary information or donate money for the drive.
* Donate or participate in Linn Thornton's annual community Christmas dinner, a Monett tradition for 25 years.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of holiday giving opportunities. These are just the ones we've received information about in the last few weeks. Be sure to send me details about any other projects that are being planned to assist others this Christmas and we'll help you get the word out in coming issues of The Monett Times.