Christmas 2013: Been there, done that.
Next up, New Year's Day.
And with 2013 fading into the history books, so too goes what some call "the season of giving."
It's true for many of us that the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day constitutes the time when we are more likely to consider donations of food, clothing, toys and money in an effort to help those who struggle financially.
In that spirit, it's worth noting that hunger and homelessness don't end when the lights come off the tree or when the last verse of "Auld Lang Syne" has been sung. The despair that comes from not knowing when you'll eat your next meal knows no holiday.
In that spirit, we would invite you to consider that the "season of giving" should never end.
Consider these numbers, as reported on the Oregon Food Bank's website:
For the third year in a row, the Oregon Food Bank statewide network of regional food banks distributed more than 1 million emergency food boxes.
Since the beginning of the recession in 2008, food box distribution has increased 41 percent.
The network of regional food banks now distributes about 350,000 more food boxes annually than it did before the recession.
270,000 people per month ate meals from emergency food boxes.
In an average month, 92,000 children eat meals from emergency food boxes.
Given the realities that poverty, joblessness and hunger are on the rise, we invite our readers to consider making year-round donations to charities of their choice, or to those that provide direct services to the people of East Multnomah and Clackamas counties. Here are some to consider:
SnowCap Community Charities: 17805 S.E. Stark St., 503-674-8785, snowcap.org.
Zarephath Kitchen & Food Pantry: 59 N.W. Ava Ave., 503-667-7932.
The Salvation Army: 473 S.E. 194th Ave., 503-661-8972 or visit salvationarmygresham.org.
Oregon Food Bank: visit oregonfoodbank.org.
Meals on Wheels: visit mealsonwheelspeople.org.
Sandy Community Action Center: 38982 Pioneer Blvd., 503-668-4746 or visit sandyactioncenter.org.
Estacada Area Food Bank: 272 Broadway, 503-630-2888.
Remember, there is no donation too small. And there is no donation that goes unappreciated.
We may never fully end hunger, homelessness and poverty, but we can make a year-round commitment to do what we can to move all of us in that direction.
Happy New Year!