Thursday, November 24, 2005

Editorial: Giving thanks

Published in the Current

(Nov 24, 2005): This week, as Thanksgiving gives us a chance to stop and take stock of all of our blessings, please remember to think of others who are less fortunate. They are all around us – here in Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth and South Portland, and they live here year-round.

Some are children, like Barry Cash, whose difficult road is one few of us can fathom. Even so, Cash, now 18, has happy memories of his childhood with his family, before his mother put him on a Lewiston school bus and told the driver not to bring him home, as we read on Page 1. He has also found a family that cares for him deeply, and we are grateful to the LaVoies for opening their hearts and their home to him.

Others are like the 47-year-old Scarborough mother we talked to, who needs help from the Scarborough Food Pantry, or others who get help from the other local pantries.

People have been telling us that this winter the need will be greater, with fuel prices high and sure to stay there. Even as gas and oil prices fall to near or even below $2 a gallon, that is more than some can pay.

Holidays are a time of plenty in many homes, but in homes where there is not plenty, the absence is felt more deeply. But there is a sadder story here: As the holidays pass, people tend to neglect the needy again, until the holidays come around again.

By March, Norma Coughlin, director of the Scarborough Food Pantry, turns to people who go to church at the pantry’s home, the First Congregational Church on Black Point Road, to fill the larder for those still hungry as winter ends.

Coughlin and the volunteers there, as well as others at other food pantries and organizations in our three communities, keep their minds and hearts on helping the less fortunate throughout the year, not just when the “giving season” is upon us and winter rolls in.

We urge everyone to try harder to keep others in mind, even during our busy lives. That is a large part of what makes a community and keeps ours together.

To the LaVoies, Coughlin and her crew, South Portland Food Cupboard Director Sybil Riemensnider and her volunteers: We are thankful to you, and for you, and for all who help others, now and throughout the year.

A personal note

I will be leaving the Current Nov. 30 to become the managing editor of the Portland Phoenix.

I want to take a moment to express my personal gratitude to all of you, our readers, advertisers, friends and community members, for your support – both professional and personal – in my four years here at the Current.

I leave with both a heavy heart and great excitement. I will miss covering these communities so closely, though I will still live in South Portland, visit my sister’s family in Scarborough and spend time with friends in Cape Elizabeth.

Many of you will remember my friend and colleague Brendan Moran, who worked with us at the Current from very early on. He is now Current Publishing’s executive editor, and will begin oversight of the Current, with an assistant editor to be named shortly. Together they will ensure the continuation and improvement of the strong news coverage and writing you have come to expect from the Current.

After next week, I will join you as an interested reader and paid subscriber, and I look forward to the next chapter in the story of this, my hometown newspaper.

Thanks again to all of you, for so much.

Jeff Inglis, editor