One of my traditions on Christmas Eve is to watch Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. There’s a line from the story that is as true today as it was when it was written: “Christmas is the time of year where want is most keenly felt and abundance rejoices.”

For those of us with an abundance, I like to think of those words as a reminder to consider those less fortunate than ourselves. To consider the people in our community who know only need. I like to think of those words as a call to action, spurring us to remember that Christmas should be “a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time” for all.

Which is why I’m thankful there are so many organizations in our community doing so much good. By supporting those organizations, we can help lift up those in need.

The Roseburg Rescue Mission provides food, shelter and recovery care to men, women and children in need. From its humble beginnings in 1964, the Roseburg Rescue Mission has grown and offers a wide variety of assistance to the homeless:

  • A men’s shelter located downtown, offering a dayroom, meals, showers, laundry, and clothing
  • The Samaritan Inn, for women and children, offering a dayroom, meals, showers, laundry and clothing
  • A Work Training program, teaching people new skills and the value of work
  • Life skills classes, which can lead to earning a GED, and includes personal finance planning, resume building, computer classes and more
  • Addiction recovery classes
  • Personal counseling and goal setting
  • Transitional housing

Recently, they put out a call for holiday dinner items, Christmas gifts for their residents, volunteers, and donations. For more information visit www.roseburgrescuemission.org, or call 541-673-3004.

Casa de Belen provides homeless teens, homeless families with a teenager and homeless teenage parents with a safe place to create and implement a vision for a positive future. Opened in 2005, Casa de Belen operates a 27,000-square foot facility with 40 rooms and provides:

  • Shelter
  • Healthy meals
  • Intensive case management for all residents over the age of 13
  • Onsite mental health counseling
  • Onsite basic medical care and triage
  • Mentoring
  • Educational assistance
  • Employment support
  • Sobriety support
  • Assistance with food, hygiene supplies and clothing

They are seeking donations of all kinds and volunteers. Volunteers are sought for their mentoring program, and for teaching important life skills on a regular basis. For more information visit www.casadebelen.org, or call 541-677-0073.

The Roseburg Dream Center is composed of community members who have banded together to help be the arms of Jesus in the community by enhancing the quality of life of those in need, expanding community awareness and providing God’s loving gifts to all in need. They have a number of ministries that provide assistance, including:

  • A food pantry and food delivery to those in need
  • Clothing ranging from baby sizes to adults
  • Taking food, clothing, hygiene kits, rain gear and more to the homeless wherever they are
  • A warming center, open when the temperature is forecast for below thirty degrees

They are seeking donations of food, clothing, Christmas items, contributions and volunteers for their warming center. For more information visit www.roseburgdreamcenter.org, or call 541-673-5918.

Other local nonprofits include The United Community Action Network, NeighborWorks Umpqua, the United Way, Battered Persons Advocacy, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Lions Club and the list goes on. There are many local nonprofits doing amazing work that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the help of our generous community.

Don’t forget that contributions to many of those organizations qualify as a tax-deductible donation.

In the immortal words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us. Everyone!”

Do you have information of interest to Douglas County veterans? Contact John McDonald at jd.mcdonald.jd@gmail.com or 541-580-6178. He is a combat veteran with more than 18 years of military service and serves in the Oregon National Guard.

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