BY SAVANNAH NORRIS
Yet again, it seems the holidays have snuck up on everyone. This time of year, Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving turkey recipes and Christmas wish lists preoccupy all corners of the mind and swirl into one big chaotic nightmare. While obligatory in-law visits and 5am Christmas morning wake-up calls aren’t always the most fun festivities, there are plenty of things to look forward to this holiday season that don’t involve nagging and “for-Santa-only cookies.”
Providing a brief escape from the hectic holiday home life is one of the most notable and tolerable local annual events to participate in, the Penny Campaign. This campaign funds the Samaritan Soup Kitchen and Samaritan Inn, offering the food and housing to individuals in need. Samaritan Ministry invites you and all of your irritable-at-times loved ones to get together and compete to raise money to feed and house those people. To get started, you should pick up a penny jar and either the will to help others or a competitive streak.
The challenge is very simple. Once you have your penny jar and motivation, all you have to do is fill it with cash, coins or even checks. Much like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween, there is a great deal of preparation required for the Penny Campaign. Raising more than $57,000 takes time! The Penny Campaign kicks off in October and runs all the way to Collection Day. All participants will drop off their donations at 110 Oakwood Drive (near Starbucks) in Winston-Salem or Samaritan’s new building at 414 East Northwest Boulevard on the first Saturday in December.
Making a difference in the lives of homeless and hungry people isn’t as hard as you think. Cameron Kent, WXII news reporter and Honorary Chairman for the Penny Campaign, stresses that kids, even just by emptying their piggy banks, know that they are making a difference and contributing a few pennies to the cost of a hot meal, which can change a life. However, it takes more than one person or family to raise enough money to buy thousands of meals. Samaritan Ministry encourages, not only you and your tolerable family members to participate, but your church, children’s schools and offices as well. With more people involved, there are more donations and volunteers. That, in turn, enables the community to offer even more funding and support to help the Samaritan Soup Kitchen and Samaritan Inn feed and house those in need.
The holidays tend to be an emotionally trying and stressful, yet rewarding and kind time. Although full of irrelevant and annoyingly labor-intensive cranberry sauce recipes and relatives, the holiday season tends to empower the utmost generosity within a community. Neglecting that magic would be unjust and irrational. The Penny Campaign is just one of many ways you can capture the holiday bewitchment. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss, even with the freezing rain, 30-degree wind chills and snow blizzards that accompany the event. Though usually cold, this 20-year-old campaign always “warms the heart,” as Cameron Kent says. “It’s nothing short of miraculous.”