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MIssoulian editorial: Huckleberry wishes as holidays near

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The recent story about senior citizens joining the ranks of the homeless put a chokecherry-flavored spoonful of medicine on everyone’s tongue as we roll into the winter holiday scramble. There’s been a lot of back-and-forth in the Missoula town square conversation about the Crisis Service levy failure in last week’s election, and what the future holds for that initiative. The Missoula City Council’s decision to approve a three-year lease for the Mobile Support Team headquarters signifies acceptance that our responsibility to care for those in need must be faced. The fact that a powerful tool (levy funding) got taken away doesn’t remove a single homeless person from the street. It doesn’t help a single person keep their apartment in the midst of a mental or financial emergency. It doesn’t eliminate a single visit to a hospital emergency room. In fact, letting focus fade on Missoula’s crisis service initiatives will only inflame those crises, and their cost to taxpayers. Let’s not mourn over broken tools. Let’s find better ones.

Huckleberries go well in turkey stuffing, so let’s sprinkle a bunch inside the 2,500 turkeys the Missoula Food Bank and Community Center will be distributing this Sunday. With the Food Bank serving more than 2,000 households a month, and absorbing 500 new applications every month as well, the scope of local need can’t be understated. Missoulians and Montanans in general have a tradition going back generations of taking care of one another. We’re particularly good about showing that streak during November and December, when the holiday festivities help remind us that not everyone has the resources to celebrate. Let’s take that one step further and remember the other 10 months of the year, when the decorations are down but the need remains.

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