Every year near Christmas in the Cayman Islands, caring individuals and businesses open their hearts and their wallets to make donations to those in need.
People give toys for children, food for the hungry and money for the needy. People in this community actually give all year round, but their generosity is especially evident leading up to Christmas.
Community service groups like Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis all do their part in organising and distributing donations, as do many church organisations. Private sector businesses also either donate to one of the organised causes or make contributions on their own.
Last year, the Agape Family Worship Centre spearheaded a drive to help needy families in the Sister Islands after the devastation caused by Hurricane Paloma. They raised almost $50,000 in gift certificates. This year, Agape is aiming to bring Christmas joy to the many Caymanian families hit hard by the global economic crisis.
This year in particular has been very difficult for many in the Cayman Islands. Hundreds and hundreds of people are without jobs right now. The shutdown of the two high school projects alone has put scores of Caymanian construction workers out of a job right before the holiday season.
In addition, some people who do have jobs have had their hours or pay cut and are struggling just to get by.
Instead of being something to look forward to, this Christmas is only bringing impending dread for many people.
It is therefore important, this year more than ever, for people to give what they can afford to help our brothers and sisters in need.
We live in a society that has the highest standard of living in the Caribbean, but we need to recognise that many people among us aren’t enjoying that standard.
Be generous this year. Your kindness can bring joy in what is a very difficult time for many.