Community support is essential

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As I have now put away the last of the wrap, ribbon, and cards for another year, it causes me to stop and reflect upon the end of another holiday season and what this time of year meant to me. I think of many friends and loved ones and how their strength, wisdom, and compassion have shaped and enriched my life with their varied and meaningful connections.

I had the good fortune of growing up in a noisy, loving, and supportive family in nearby Weston. I am all too aware that many people did not have the luxury of my particular upbringing.

Our current economic downturn has caused many to struggle to cover basic needs like food and shelter. As a volunteer for Children's Home Society of Washington), I witness the record number of local families and children that show up daily to request assistance and help to survive these challenging times.

CHSW meets their needs through counseling, parenting classes, mentoring programs, family support and relationship building groups and programs that help children prepare for and do well in school. Although CHSW assisted over 800 families and children in 2009, it has become increasingly difficult to meet the higher demand for services.

What makes the difference during difficult economic times is the assistance we receive from the community to help lift families up and give them hope for the future, and for their children's future. Help make this season of giving last all year by supporting this wonderful organization or the organization of your choice. Your support will not only help children survive -- the most basic of all needs -- but thrive, and grow-up to be happy and healthy adults and one day, great parents themselves.

Mari Tester
chairwoman
CHSW's Community Council
Walla Walla

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