We as a community, just like many other communities across the nation, have proven over and over how generous, caring and compassionate we can be. This is the time of the year when many organizations and groups will come together and discuss helping those in need as the holidays approach. I’ve been out of the loop the past few years as we have spent pretty much every holiday in the hospital. I’m ready to jump back in, but I need some assistance. I made sure a little girl last year got her wish for Christmas morning. She dreamed of a Barbie Townhouse, and I was able to make it happen right before Jake was hospitalized. She is the daughter of a single, working mom. A mom who makes about 10.00/hour. A mom who was lucky enough to secure housing at Maple Ridge, but a mom who still has to make rent and car payments. A mom who gave up (lost) benefits because she chose to work. A mom who will no longer get a $9,000.00 check from the government in January because she chose to work. She wants to set a good example for her child; she wants to be a productive member of society. It would be so much easier, and she would get more benefits if she would just choose to not work. These are the ladies you see working in fast food places, grocery stores, drug stores. Maybe you’ve been rude or snarly to one of them. Maybe you’ve never even noticed them. They are the forgotten ones. Are they on the list to get a Thanksgiving dinner delivered to their door? Do people remember them when they buy Christmas presents? I imagine that Kara, the manager at Maple Ridge, could give us the names of single moms who could use some assistance and not just at the holidays. The other group that will get lost in the shuffle are the homeless teenagers. Yes, we have teenagers sleeping on different couches several nights a week. Mom moved on. Mom has a new boyfriend, new babies, and a new life with some guy you don’t want near the teenaged daughter anyway. Yeah, there’s no room for you at our house. Me and my new old man have gone back to the same old habits. You’re my dependent until your older, so I’ll happily take that government check I earned from having you. Yeah, it’s my check. I earned that check. You wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for me. Hell, I cant even send you to the gas station to buy my cigarettes any more. You think that’s funny? Get the hell out of here. No one wants you, if I see your ugly face one more minute… Not only is there a need for a permanent, safe bed for these forgotten kids, but they have needs. Girls have monthly needs. They all have daily hygiene needs. What about a decent pair of shoes? Walmart gets a lot of holiday business from groups buying for underpriviledged kids. We have to cut the tags off because all your gifts were being returned after Christmas. Maybe a teenager would just like a pair of Vans or Nike’s for a change. Maybe for once they’d be able to fit in among their peers. I find stuff in my kids’ closets all the time that have never or barely been worn. There is a local gal named Beth who could probably give us names and ideas for these forgotten ones….