Letters To The Editor - Generosity and compassion needed

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Tis the season to be generous. Opposite the general notion that everything in this country is broken, the Walla Walla Faith Community has an ongoing goal of generosity and service throughout the year.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two holidays I wish were six months apart so there would be two separate times during the year when generosity and consideration to our fellow man would be cause to think of those outside our personal social milieu.

Nov. 29 I attended a meeting of the Faith Community. Its goal is to implement and/or assist in creating situations for social good throughout the year. On that day Maeve McClellan gave a thorough and spirited presentation on the SOS Health Services of Walla Walla, which is situated at the SonBridge Community Center at 1200 SE 12th St. in College Place. According to its brochure SOS was founded in 2000 "to provide compassionate, quality medical care to the uninsured."

The brochure continues, "All patients are invited to donate towards the cost of their care, but no one is denied treatment because of inability to pay."

SOS relies completely on volunteer services from our community meaning that the doctors and nurses on their staff are working free of charge. These professionals work through the day at their respective sites and then offer their services at the end of their work day.

Since the number of professional volunteers is limited the clinic is open only twice a week. To stay open longer will require more volunteerism, not only from doctors, but from others with professional medical training.

Through a generous grant from the Sherwood Group along with several other local donors, SonBridge is currently renovating a wing of the old Blue Mountain Retirement Home that will house new medical and dental services for the community. Maeve McClellan is herself an AmeriCorps volunteer. She can be reached at execdirector@soshealthservices.org or by calling for more information.

Other chances to give alternative Christmas gifts during this season are donations to Helpline, YWCA, Catholic Charities or the Red Cross, to name but a few organizations.

Generosity and compassion is needed in the face of the dwindling tax revenues on those very social services one would expect from a nation as wealthy as ours. Actually it would be wonderful if the spirit of generosity and compassion became an ongoing, everyday thing in Walla Walla.

Todd Oleson
Walla Walla

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