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Yes, Grant County there is a Santa Claus . . .

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

I watched a magical thing happen last Saturday right here in our community and will get the opportunity again this Saturday.
More than 40 children were able to select presents for themselves and their families during the 2010 Kentucky State Police Shop With A Trooper program held Dec. 11 at Wal-Mart in Dry Ridge.
On Dec. 18, several more children will be shopping during the Shop With A Cop program organized by the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and Williamstown Police Department.
There are those bah humbuggers who say that these children’s parents are lazy and need to get jobs to support their kids or those who may say that this is another program that teaches people not to work to take care of their needs, but to leave it to the government or generous kind-hearted people.
Well, to all of those who say those things, I say I hope you don’t wake up and find coal in your stocking on Christmas morning.
We’re talking about children and letting them see the good left in people.
One of the children on the trip lost siblings in a fire, another child’s mother died of cancer and then their father died just a few weeks ago. Yet another couple of children lost a parent in an accident and another was living with relatives because he had been removed from the care of his parents.
These are not children from Cincinnati or even some place in Northern Kentucky, but right here in our own community.
Some were concerned with the toys, but many of these children wanted what I call basic necessities like socks and warm pajamas. Nearly all of them wanted to spend part of the money on things for their brothers, sisters and family members.
I cried, not once, but three times during this shopping excursion because of the excitement in their faces, the smiles, the pure joy was simply beautiful.
I’m sure I’ll experience some of those same feelings this Saturday when I head out and spend the morning shopping with more children.
So, I say to Grant County – there is a Santa Claus. It’s the spirit of Christmas that lives in each person who donated to Shop With A Trooper or Shop With A Cop or took an ornament from an Angel Tree or gave to Helping Hands or the Community Action Commission.
The Christmas spirit is alive and well in those who donated their time to ring a bell for Salvation Army or dropped off Toys for Tots or who baked cookies and took to an elderly neighbor.
I love this time of year because people’s generosity is easy to see.
There are always going to be those people who are Grinch and Scrooge-like, but people seem to generally be in a better frame of mind.
As I drove away from those children, I was reminded of my many blessings and that just as we were given the gift of the Christ child some 2,000 years ago, it is our duty and responsibility to show God’s love in our actions and words not just at Christmas, but all year long.
And as much as people groan about Christmas being all about the gifts, we need to accept that it is.
It started with the gift of Jesus Christ and rests in our hands with what we’re going to give others – be it time, money, patience, forgiveness, understanding, etc.
Merry Christmas Grant County. My wish for 2011 is a joyous prosperous year for our community.
(Jamie Baker-Nantz is the editor of the Grant County News. She can be reached at jbakernantz@grantky.com.)