Once again it’s Christmas time, and it’s worth thinking for a minute about what’s good in this troubled world. Here’s my short list of worthwhile and completely non-political organizations that I contribute to this time of year.
First, the Salvation Army. You don’t have to be a born again Christian to appreciate what these dedicated men and women do for the poor, the needy, and the alienated in our society. The Salvation Army has also been recognized for making the best use of a charity dollar of any comparable organization in the country.
Second, Teen Challenge. This international faith-based project operates its first Vermont center in Johnson. It takes in mostly young men who have made a mess of their lives, most commonly through booze and drugs and the associated crime, and after 16 months turns out men determined to live clean and upright lives.
Third, Search for Common Ground. This group has worked wonders defusing racial and ethnic conflicts in places like Rwanda, Macedonia, and Sierra Leone.
Fourth, Spirit of America. This group works with soldiers and Marines on the ground in the Middle East and Africa to help local people create a working democracy and a productive economy.
And finally, No One Left Behind. This group, organized by American soldiers who served in Afghanistan, is working to get Afghans who interpreted for our troops out of Afghanistan before the Taliban murders them.
So there are my five recommendations. Merry Christmas!