OKEECHOBEE — There is just something about this time of year that makes us want to do nice things for others. People all over Okeechobee are actively seeking opportunities to give back to their community. Posts on Facebook say things like, “Hey, does anyone know where I can find an Angel tree? I want to buy gifts for a child.” Or “Hey, someone just bought lunch for my family at Pogey’s, and I don’t even know who they were. I just want to say thank you. It made my day.”
This has been a difficult year for most people, so it is heartwarming to see some of the positive interactions in our small town. Despite the financial hardships, many are going out of their way to do the right thing. Kendall Holliday posted on Facebook looking for her dad’s missing necklace. She said it had great sentimental value, because he used to wear his wife’s wedding ring on the chain after she passed away. The ring was found and returned to her father within hours of her posting.
A woman posted about a man buying food for her family at Beef O’ Brady’s, turning what otherwise was a tragic day into something better and restoring her faith in humanity.
A little lost puppy was brought home safely, and these are just a few of the good news stories circulating on social media this week.
If you are one of the many looking for a way to help this year, there are several places you can go:
• Pat’s Floral Design, 210 U.S. 441 N., has a giving tree with names of children from the Head Start Program.
• Special Olympics Okeechobee has set up a Facebook page so that their athletes can be adopted for Christmas. You should be able to find it by going to groups, then typing in Adopt an Athlete, but if you have any trouble or are not on Facebook, call Bernard Marker at 863-801-3393. Marker said they are planning to have a central location for a tree where gifts can be safely dropped off and picked up. This will be announced as soon as arrangements are finalized. You can drop gifts off for athletes who have already been adopted at The Brown Cow.
• Guardians for a New Future, located in Port St. Lucie, has the names of Okeechobee children. They can be reached at 772-807-3868.
• Walmart is doing their Angel Trees virtually this year, so if you choose to give through them, you can either get your information from a QR code off a box at the front of the store or you can just type in Registry for Good on your computer’s browser. Look for Angel Tree of Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee Counties to the left of the map.
• Bruce and Mary Anne Swinford of Big Lake Missions Outreach are taking donations of new, unwrapped toys for babies through kids up to age 17. Groups and individuals can also adopt a family. Call 863-763-5725 for more information.
If you want to help, there are many options out there. All it takes is a heart for others. If you can’t help financially, Leah Suarez of Our Village is often looking for help unloading and distributing produce when trucks come to town. Give her a call at 863-697-8718.