In 2013 make a resolution to reach out and help someone

Hello neighbor.

As I said in a previous Neighbors column, this time of year I tend to do a lot of thinking and lately it has been about those who are not quite as fortunate as the rest of us.

I feel very blessed because I have wonderful family, my health, a job I love, and a roof over my head.

But what about those who don’t — maybe they’ve lost their job or home. Maybe they have no family, at least not in the area. Maybe they’ve experienced one hardship after another.

Whatever their story might be, there are neighbors out there struggling — or worse.

I am just as guilty as the next. I’m always going to do something, but life seems to get in the way.

This year on New Year’s Eve, I am going to make a resolution to volunteer in 2013 to help my neighbors — maybe someone who is reading this right now.

If you’ve been thinking like me, donate your time, skills, experience and talents, and if you truly don’t have the time, make another type of donation.

There are plenty of opportunities out there.

Contact the hospital, your school department, or a church in your community. Deliver meals to elders who are housebound or simply visit someone who can’t get out to socialize. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Become a mentor or coach, give blood or foster a child or animal. Volunteer to work with Hospice or join a team that raises money for your favorite cause.

Get involved.

Every person I’ve interviewed over the past decade who has done volunteering has said it was one of the best experiences of their life.

I’VE BEEN TOLD THERE ARE STILL FAMILIES that need to be adopted for Christmas and Joan Arms said Adopt-A-Family, a small group of volunteers, is still looking for people, like you, to help.

She said if you expected to receive an application from Adopt-A-Family but never did, please call 413-774-4107 or email her at: jwarms70@comcast.net.

VLAD AGAPOV, CO-OWNER OF QUALITY CLEANING AND RESTORATION of Greenfield, told me he has been in New York City since Nov. 2 with some of his crew to help people clean their homes after Hurricane Sandy damaged them.

“We are billing insurance companies, but at this point we don’t know how much we’ll get paid — or if we will,” said Agapov. “We also did some volunteer work in the beginning.”

Agapov said he’s never seen so much devastation.

“Yes, I’m in business, but I also wanted my crew to experience this on a human level,” he said. “This really makes you grateful for what you have.”

Agapov said he and his crew will be there for at least another two weeks.

ON NOV. 25 A FOOD DRIVE WAS HELD at the Montague Safety Complex to benefit the Montague Catholic Social Ministries Food Pantry.

Numerous volunteers from A Friend to Friend, Franklin County Technical School’s National Honor Society, Turners Falls High School’s National Honor Society, and the community attended the food drive, which was organized by Lesley Cogswell.

In two hours, the food drive brought in 2,541 items with a total weight of 2,622.7 pounds of food. Wow!

AN OLD-FASHIONED CAROL SING will be held Saturday from 4 to 5 p.m. at East Colrain Chapel on West Leyden Road in Colrain.

Organizers told me to let you know that, if you are going to attend, you should dress warmly because the building is not heated.

THERE WILL BE A COOL KIDS CONCERT to benefit Arms library on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls.

Local children ages 8 to 18 will “strut their stuff” on Sunday, not only performing for the community, but for the library, which needs a new roof.

Suggested ticket prices are $5 to $20 and all proceeds will go to the library.

For more information, contact Cherie at 413-625-0344 or Maureen at 413-625-6728.

THE CONWAY UNITED CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH will hold a food sale and raffle on Saturday from 9 to 11:45 a.m. at the Conway branch of Greenfield Savings Bank on Route 116.

There will be baskets and paintings raffled, a food sale, and many items for purchase. Proceeds will support ongoing events at the church.

And remember, later in the day the annual Christmas caroling and tree lighting will be held in Conway center on the library common. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served.

DICK’S ANGELS RELAY FOR LIFE TEAM (the Wood family) will hold its annual Christmas Bazaar in Northfield on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Town Hall (downstairs). Parking will be in back of the building. There will be a bake sale, poker chip game, tag sale, coffee can drawings and much more and all proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.

JUDY BENNET AND TRAVIS MILLER, along with Friends of the New Salem Public Library, will hold a Holiday Book Sale to benefit the library.

Hardcovers will be $2 and paperbacks will be $1. Books in the closet will be .50 cents and $1.

CHANDLER’S TAVERN AT YANKEE CANDLE CO. in South Deerfield recently awarded a $500 first prize to the Montague Dog Shelter for its team’s decorated Giving Tree. The tree was constructed and decorated by shelter employees.

That tree will be on display outside Chandler’s for a few days.

ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH ON PROSPECT STREET in Turners Falls, will hold its annual Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be baked goods, knitted items, and a raffle for a food basket and gift certificates. A lunch of hearty soup, homemade bread, a brownie and coffee and tea will be served beginning at 11 a.m.

THE FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE, a nonprofit organization that supports education enrichment programs in the Pioneer Valley School District, is selling tickets for its annual calendar raffle. Winners will be drawn each day in January — there will be $3,800 worth of prizes.

Tickets will be sold on Saturday at the Northfield Elementary School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Dec. 13 and 14 at 7 p.m. at Pioneer Valley Regional School during its holiday concerts.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Kathy Malsch (413-498-4342) or Jennifer Glazier (413-648-9312) by Dec. 31.

GIRL SCOUT TROOP 40143 IN GREENFIELD is hosting its 59th annual Ski-Skate Sale at St. James Church, 7 Church St., Dec. 7 from 4 to 8 p.m. and Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The sale will feature new and used items and the troop will accept consignment items and donations on Dec. 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.

There will be refreshments provided by Slip and Slide Cafe at the sale.

The troop, which is raising money to go on a trip in June 2013, includes members from Greenfield, Gill and Turners Falls.

For more information, call Patti McConnell at 413-773-8072.

THE FRIENDS OF DICKINSON MEMORIAL LIBRARY want to thank those who volunteer and are devoted to the town’s library throughout the year.

The Friends told me they were overwhelmed by the amount of volunteers who stepped up to the plate on Election Day to help with a bake sale to benefit the library and on Dec. 8, volunteers will once again be called upon, this time to help wrap gifts for children at its annual Children’s Bazaar.

To volunteer, call Rena Finch at 413-498-2295.

RECORDER REPORTER CHRIS SHORES recently wrote a story about the 8th Grade Academy in Greenfield entering a contest to win iPads for all of its 120 students.

The academy entered the Power a Bright Future, a grant competition of The Clorox Co., in which prizes of $25,000 and $50,000 will be given to the schools that collect the most votes between now and Dec. 19. Voting has been going on since earlier this month and anyone may vote up to two times a day.

To vote via text, send the message “2200pbf” to phone number 95248 or visit: https://powerabrightfuture.clorox.com/nominees/detail/?nid=2200.

I’ll try to find out where the voting is at and let you know in my next Neighbors.

GREENFIELD COOPERATIVE BANK was recently honored for raising $1,500 during the Franklin County Home Care Corp.’s 2012 Walk for Meals on Wheels. The bank was the top fundraiser. Congratulations GCB!

PLEASE REMEMBER, I am looking for great stories about our neighbors. Please let me know if you have one.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to anita.alice.fritz@gmail.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 280 or her cell at 413-388-6950. You can also reach her on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: neighbors@recorder.com the day before you want it to run.

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