Here Comes The Editor's Lament For Holiday Time

ROUTE 2. A weekly journey through Anne Arundel County

November 27, 1991|By Candy Thomson JoAnna Daemmrich

An editor's lament, sung to the tune of "Here Comes Santa Claus:"

Here comes Santa Claus

Here comes Santa Claus

Press releases announce.

He's in Odenton

He's in Brooklyn Park

He's at the Governor's house.

Every year about this time

The jolly old elf makes a splash.

Everyone has the real McCoy

So from site to site photographers --.

Here comes Santa Claus

Here comes Santa Claus

Every civic group notes.

From Thanksgiving Day to the end of the year

St. Nick comes by cars and by boats.

He comes with his wife or sometimes he'sstag

But one thing's for sure, he's a hit.

And everyone want us to capture the moment

But if we forget to, we're -- ah -- in trouble.

Here comes Santa Claus

Here comes Santa Claus

Golly that dude gets around.

I can't remember if he's been to Broadneck

Or was that Glen Burnie's downtown?

We'd like to see him at each of his stops

But there's more of him than of us

If we can be there, you know that we will

But if we can't make it, don't fuss.

THIS IS THE SEASON FOR GIVING AND GUILT

'Tis the season of giving and guilt.

Every time stores begin playing Christmas jingles, I rummage through my closet to collect old clothes and fill a bag with foodfor the Salvation Army. But I always feel guilty that I don't do more. I worry that I'm only a Good Samaritan during holidays, a Christmas and Easter do-gooder.

I feel more guilty than ever this year, even though I'm donating more than usual. That's because every day the news gets worse. The economic slump has left most charities struggling to keep up with requests from hungry families and newly laid-off workers. Meanwhile, donations are dwindling.

The United Way of Central Maryland is lagging 25 percent behind its fund-raising goal in itsannual drive to help health and human-service programs. At the current pace, the United Way expects to fall $1.6 million short of raising$33.2 million.

Anne Arundel's campaign goal is $1.3 million. But so far, the county is less than a third of the way there, having raised only $374,836.

Sarah Hitch, who is managing this year's campaign, said it's another sign of the bad economic times. Many people who gave every year through payroll deductions have been laid off. It's hard to donate money at work if you no longer have a job, she said.

At the same time, the number of people seeking help from United Way-supported agencies keeps increasing. Helping Hand, a homeless shelterand food pantry in Annapolis, has charted a 200 percent increase in the number of families coming in for assistance. Two-hundred percent is no small number.

"It's really amazing, and it's been happening all over," Hitch said. "(The same) people who have been laid off havealways been the ones giving. Now, they're the ones needing services."

Last year, the county chapter of the United Way reached its $1.2million fund-raising goal. But United Way spent twice as much on services in Anne Arundel County, Hitch said. Homeless shelters, emergency food pantries, the Red Cross and American Cancer Society, Meals on Wheels and other groups asked for $2.3 million from the United Way since last January. More than 74,000 people were served.

With layoffs looming on nearly every company horizon, it's not surprising that most employees didn't want to commit to donating part of their weekly paycheck to the United Way. But the picture is so bleak that some donation, even a few dollars, is necessary.

'Tis a tough season this year. Every dollar counts.

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