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Somewhere today, maybe in between watching the Macy's parade and the final whistle of the last football game, we hope you'll take to heart the meaning of Thanksgiving. And then pass it on.

Thanksgiving is traditionally the time of the year to be counting your blessings, to be grateful for the bounty most of us are fortunate to have. And by bounty, we don't mean a fat bank account, a fancy car or that flat-screen television on the wall. Think smaller and more basic. Think about your health, your family, the food on the table and the roof over your head.

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Now think about those not so fortunate. Many right here in Carroll County need some of the most basic necessities, things that most of us simply take for granted. Lots of nonprofits could benefit from contributions of such items as food, diapers, detergent, dog food, clothes, baby formula, toys, book bags, gift certificates or a host of other items. Many of us have those things sitting unused around the house, and they would serve a better purpose in the hands of someone who needs it.

People will eat, dress, clean themselves and care for their families with these donations. They are folks not so different from those of us who live in material comfort. After all, as statistics show, many households are just two or three paychecks away from indigence — even homelessness. Often, catastrophic medical costs, which can happen to anyone, are what triggers a descent into poverty. There is also the satisfaction of ameliorating conditions in your own community, of giving a leg up to people you might even pass on the street. Want to live in a Maryland community that is compassionate to the destitute and intolerant of human and animal suffering? Here's your chance.

Starting in early December, we'll offer a listing of basic necessities that clients of local nonprofits could use. It'll give us all an opportunity to share the blessings we have, and more importantly, meeting the needs of those less fortunate in the community.

For those who'd be more comfortable writing a check to help out locally, there's an option for you, too.

For the 17th straight year, the Carroll County Times is coordinating the Holiday Hope campaign. The effort teams up with Carroll Food Sunday, Neighbors in Need Year Round, Carroll Hospice and The Shepherd's Staff to help the less fortunate during the holidays. This year's goal is $95,000. To participate in Holiday Hope, readers can clip the advertisement that appears in the Times every day between now and Christmas. We'll include the names of the donors in the newspaper or the donors may give their gifts in honor or in memory of others. Check donations, which should be made out directly to the charities, can be dropped off at any New Windsor State bank location or mailed to them at P.O. Box 944, 222 E. Baltimore St., Taneytown, MD 21787

Whatever option you choose, try to remember those less fortunate this holiday season. And, if you are in a position to do so, please share your blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!

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