Many of us will be glad to turn the final page on the year 2020 and look forward to what has to be a better 2021. Natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes, a global pandemic that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and a United States more visibly divided in many ways than it has been in decades made 2020 a year we hope to put behind us quickly.
We can’t do much to avert the natural disasters. Mother Nature dishes them out year after year. All we can do is to try to weather the storms and lend a hand as best we can to those hit so hard.
We can follow the recommendations of scientists in battling the COVID-19 pandemic — wear a mask in public, practice social distancing and self-quarantine if we’ve been exposed to others who are ill. The new vaccines on the way will help put an end to threats from the virus.
And we all can take positive steps to span the divides that have opened up among Americans between political rivals, racial groups and even between family members.
It’s easy to find ways to disagree with one another. Many so-called “leaders” prefer that we focus on the labels they slap on others — liberal, conservative and all of the others — instead of paying attention to their actions. Stoking the fires of differences between us allow these “leaders” to benefit themselves while everyone else is arguing.
So instead, let’s make 2021 a year of working together toward the benefit of all.
Danville, Vermilion County and the surrounding area serve as hosts for a variety of excellent organizations that share a goal of building a better community for everyone. And those organizations can use your help — our help — to reach those goals.
Even though the pandemic’s restrictions might limit traditional meetings and fundraisers, plenty of opportunities remain where people can help one another.
Volunteer at a food bank. The demand on those local organizations who provide food to those in need grow day by day. If you can’t volunteer, consider making a donation. Even a little can help a lot.
Check with local churches to see whether they have outreach programs in place to ensure all members hear a friendly voice regularly. If such a program doesn’t exist, consider starting one.
Instead of complaining about what we can’t do, arguing about some political issue or pointing fingers of blame at everyone except ourselves, take a step back and search for ways to work together.
The late, great Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” fame, once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Be a helper in 2021. We can create a better community, but only by working together.