GREENSBURG — “Peace on Earth, good will toward men.”
Those words seem inescapable this time of year. As we’re out shopping for gifts; as we gather round Christmas trees to give and receive and open lovingly-wrapped packages; as we pause in our churches for prayer and around our tables to bless the traditional family meal – those words, though rooted in faith, transcend religion or doctrine and simply remind us that, at its core, Christmas is the season when that timeworn cliché resonates within the heart: It truly IS better to give than to receive.
Anyone in Decatur County who might need reminding of the true meaning behind Christmas needed look no further than the Knights of Columbus Hall Tuesday morning, where the 102-year-old county tradition of Cheer Fund jingled and rolled into motion. Some 150 volunteers – including 44 delivery drivers – turned out bright and early Tuesday morning for their chance to play elves to nearly 360 families accepted to receive a measure of Christmas spirit from the 2013 Cheer Fund.
Volunteers lined up, cycling through the line again and again, carrying one box at a time to waiting vehicles in the Knight’s parking lot. To borrow from another timeworn Christmas cliché – this one decidedly more secular, but no less apt – the weather outside was truly frightful Tuesday morning, with temperatures hovering in the teens and a bitter wind buffeting and biting any exposed bit of skin.
None of that bitterness found its way into the demeanor of the volunteers, though. The Knight’s Hall and the parking lot beyond were alive with that special sense of warmth and amity; that unique mix of community, hope and unadulterated kindness that only Christmas can bring.
Among the 2013 Cheer Fund volunteers helping load and deliver boxes was 15-year-old Greensburg Community High School (GCHS) Ukraine Exchange Student Oksana Hrynyuk, who’s been in the Tree City with the Schutte Family since August.