November 20th, 2013
This Week in Orange County 11-20-13
Orange County Executive Edward Diana
It’s the Thanksgiving season and we have much to be thankful for this year. I am thankful to be living in the greatest nation on Earth, for the rights and freedoms I enjoy as an American, and for the brave men and women who serve in uniform to protect those freedoms. I am thankful for my beautiful family and the generous and caring people of our great County of Orange. I am thankful for the priceless gift given to me by a stranger and his family when I received a lifesaving liver transplant that gave me a new lease on life. I may be starting to sound like a broken record, but please indulge me once again. If you haven’t yet registered to be an organ donor, please consider taking time today to register by visiting www.donatelifeny.org. It’s a priceless gift that will help save lives.
The Thanksgiving tradition is deeply rooted in our American experience and is a time for families and friends to gather together and express gratitude for the people and opportunities that enrich our daily lives. Since the first National Day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President George Washington, Americans have come together to offer thanks for our many blessings. We understand it is a privilege to live in a country where individuals are free to express their personal, political, and religious views, free of the interference of government. I wish you all the best for a very happy Thanksgiving this year.
Thanksgiving Day also kicks-off the season of giving. If you are able, I hope you will help out those in our County who may be in need this holiday season. Give to a coat or food drive, volunteer at a soup kitchen, drop some spare change in a bell ringer’s kettle. There are endless opportunities to give back, especially this time of year.
For more than 20 years the Orange County Youth Bureau has coordinated its annual Adopt-a-Family holiday program. Each year, local non-profit children and family service agencies and schools provide the Youth Bureau with a list of families in need. Each list includes the first name, age, and sizes of the family members, along with a list of possible gift suggestions. County departments, community organizations, businesses, and individuals then adopt a family of the size that fits their budget and ability to support. Often times church groups, scout troops, and others will join together in adopting a family so that they can do even more to help those in need in our community. Many supplement their family’s gifts with holiday food baskets and gift cards to make the holidays even brighter.
As many as 100 families are “adopted” each year. This year, the need is as great as ever. Youth Bureau Director Rachel Wilson and I sincerely hope that those who can, will choose to share their good fortune with others this holiday season. To find out more, or to adopt-a-family, call the Youth Bureau Office at 615-3620.
Please also remember our veterans during the holidays. The Orange County Veterans Food Pantry now provides food and assistance to more than 200 veterans and their families. If you’d like to volunteer, donate non-perishable food and household items, or make a monetary gift, please contact Veterans Service Agency Director Tony Zippo at 291-2464.
Until next week, I wish you all health and happiness.