UNITED STATES—I was absolutely stunned to realize we’re entering our second week, perhaps third week of November depending on who you speak to and I have not yet seen those infamous Red Kettles from the Red Cross. I love the holidays, especially the months between September and December. For the oddest reason, it seems to be the one time of the year that everyone is a bit more jovial, a bit more giving and willing to give that extra change or few dollars they have to those in need.

It delivers a feeling, that honestly (I really can’t think of the right word I want to use) I cannot fathom, that proves people are not as callous or self-centered as we sometimes think they are. For me, anyone who knows me knows anytime I see that red kettle I give, and even if it’s a case where I’m at the shopping mall and there are 4-5 people with kettles, each of those kettles will get spare change or dollars that I have in my arsenal. This is a time of year that is a massive struggle for plenty of families, and when you factor in the various parts of the region, it makes things that more daunting.

Why? Well, there are parts of the country where the weather is downright brutal and frigid during the fall and winter months. For those who are homeless or without shelter, sleeping in the bitter cold with just jackets or blankets is not enough. It kills my heart to see such scenes like this in a country that is so RICH with money. Why in the world are we not doing so much more to help those in need and fight this battle of homelessness that is not just an issue anymore, it’s an epidemic America.

For some we might think it’s only a dollar or some spare change, but just imagine if a million people each donated $1, that is a million dollars that can help I’m certain a ton of people in need a ton of families who are struggling to keep the heat or electricity on in the house, purchase a Christmas gift for a child who has no idea if he or she will get anything this holiday season or to simply keep food on the table.

Yes, that is a harsh reality many of us may never face, but there are tons of people out there right now who encounter such challenges and obstacles, not just during the holiday season, but year round. I wish we could take some of this festive energy we have during the holidays and spread that joy 365 days a year. It’s imperative that we teach our children, tweens, teens and young adults the importance of giving back. You never know when you might find yourself in such a situation and you need a helping hand.

Life is known to deliver curveballs that many of us never expect, but the generosity of a stranger, someone who just wants to uplift the spirits of those who are not as fortunate that can have a domino effect where everyone is passing it forward. Remember lead by example, you never know how your ability to give can rub off on others and make them want to do something to help out an individual or perhaps a cause that is in desperate need.