Your Town, Dec. 9, 2012

Secret Santas. Layaway Angels. Paying it forward.

It’s a great time of year to make a difference in someone’s life, whether it’s paying the tab for the car behind you at the drive-thru window, or reaching deeper to assure that a family in need has a Christmas to remember.

The anonymous giving this time of year warms the heart. There’s something about giving in secret that makes your heart swell with joy. It feels lighter, and beats just a little faster — like a burst of adrenaline, fueled with a shot of espresso.

In the classic tale “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Dr. Suess ponders why the Grinch hates Christmas.

“It could be that his head wasn’t screwed on quite right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all, may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.”

Our family has agreed to forgo the customary drawing of names this year, and instead are pooling our gift budget to assure that a family, that has fallen on hard times, can have a sprinkling of magic under the tree. I invite others to do the same.

If you have to loosen the belt a notch or two, or wear a larger size during the coming weeks, it’s most likely from your heart swelling with joy, certainly not because you’ve overindulged in iced sugar cookies and eggnog.

“...in Who-ville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!”

Solidarity Not Charity will host the 2012 Quilt Silent Auction Dec. 15–20.

Volunteers have crafted quilts, each representing a homeless citizen who has passed away on the streets in recent years.

Formed in fall 2008, the group has provided a meal weekly for those in need and supports projects such as HomewardBound and Grand Valley Peace and Justice’s Emergency Shelter Program and The Good Samaritan Clinic of Western Colorado, through transportation.

According to a news release, the group this winter is the main support for Grand Junction Community Night Patrols, a project founded by Housing First! No More Deaths! in an effort to eliminate deaths because of the elements during the cold winter season. Volunteers assist those most vulnerable on the streets on cold winter nights with blankets, hand warmers and other life-saving support.

Visit solidaritynotcharity.net to view the quilts available. Place early bids by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), anytime between Dec. 15–20. Include the name of the quilt and your bid. Updated bids can be viewed at the website.

Quilts can be seen Dec. 15-20 at the Central Library, Mesa County Libraries, 655 N. First St., and at the final auction, from 6–7:30 p.m. Dec. 20. The final auction event will feature snacks and handcrafted door prizes.

The majority of the funds raised in the auction will support Grand Junction Community Night Patrols.

Call 245-3720 or visit the website for information.

The Swedes of the Grand Valley Group will have its Christmas celebration from 4–7:30 p.m. Saturday at the American Lutheran Church.

There will be a St. Lucia procession, a silent auction and Swedish food.

Call Sharon at 263-8406 for information.

A free community Christmas day dinner will be served at 1 p.m. Dec. 25 in Baldridge Hall, at the Montrose United Methodist Church, 19 S. Park Ave., in Montrose.

To volunteer, or to make reservations, call the church office at 249-3716 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

AARP will offer the Driving Safety Program in January and February to seniors looking to become better and safer drivers on the streets and highways.

Classes will be from 1–5 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Redlands United Methodist Church, and 1–5 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Fruita Community Center.

Successful completion of the four-hour course should offer a significant reduction in automobile insurance rates.

Advance registration for the class is required.

Call Roy Rolland at 858-1514 for information or to register.

Ongoing community needs:

■ SPUNK — needs new Socks, Pajamas and Underwear for Needing Kids, Info:  243-3404.

■ Hope of the Grand Valley Adopt a Family for Christmas, focusing on working parents who don’t have funds to provide Christmas for their children without additional stress to the family. Deadline is Dec. 10. Applications for adopting a family or for assistance at http://www.hopegv.org. Info: 778-4880.

■ Toy and food drive, to benefit The Salvation Army, drop off food items and new, unwrapped toys from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. through Dec. 11, at Mesa View, 601 Horizon Place. Info: 241-0772.

■ Kokopelli Animal Hospital pet food drive, take donations of dog food, cat food or kitty litter to 456 Kokopelli Blvd., Unit E, Fruita, through Dec. 20, to benefit CLAWS, Grand River Humane Society, Mesa County Animal Services and Roice-Hurst Humane Society. Info: 858-4299, www.
kokopellianimalhospital.com.

■ Sharing Ministries Food Bank, 121 N. Rio Grande, Montrose, seeking donations to help feed families during the holiday season and throughout the coming year. Info: 240-8385, http://www.sharingministries.com.

Submit your Planner and community news items by email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), by fax at 244-8578, or by mail to P.O. Box 668, Grand Junction, CO, 81502. Items to be considered for Your Town should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event.

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