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Hand turkey for Thanksgiving

It’s easy to look around Missoula and be thankful.

For gorgeous mountain views and free-flowing rivers. For thriving commerce and low unemployment. For a deeply involved and caring community.

It’s not nearly as pleasant to linger over evidence of Missoula’s persistent problems, from low wages to unaffordable housing to insufficient resources for those suffering from addiction or mental illness. Yet in this season of thanksgiving, as winter bears down, it’s especially important that our struggling neighbors not be forgotten.

It’s important to give more than thanks.

That’s why the Missoulian is once again publishing “We Care for the Holidays,” a column that runs regularly between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day and lists some of the specific needs of struggling individuals and families in our shared community.

These lists are provided by local nonprofits and social service agencies who work closely with their clients to help them build a better future. “We Care” offers a way for the rest of us to support this important work and make a direct difference in the lives of our neighbors.

A warm coat. Gas money. A phone card. Diapers.

The requests might not seem like much, but for those on the receiving end, a little help can make a world of difference.

The Missoulian is also hosting a Missoula Aging Services Giving Tree in our lobby, located at 500 S. Higgins Ave., with a range of donations to choose from. Tags for as little as $10 to as much as $100 cover everything from senior companionship to respite care to nutritious food through Meals on Wheels. Whatever the size of the gift, it’s sure to help brighten the holidays for an older adult in Missoula.

Stop by any time during lobby hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to select a tag for the Giving Tree, or to drop off a donation of nonperishable food for the Missoula Food Bank and Community Center.

In these ways and others throughout the year, the Missoulian is happy to do our part to help grow gratitude in our community. There are many needs, it’s true, but there are also many ways to give — and even more reasons to give thanks.

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