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Featured editorial: They keep at it, keep us going

We feature them every year at this time — Jerry Carter and Mel Germanson, two men in the their mid-80s, the Grumpy Old Men.

They aren't grumpier than anybody else. Years ago they gave themselves that name as a spoof on the popular 1993 movie — starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau — with the same name.

It was just to draw more attention to what they do, and then it stuck. By now, their actions speak for themselves.

Each year on the first Monday and Tuesday after Thanksgiving, no matter what the weather, Carter and Germanson stand around downtown at Veterans Park. They try to be noticed on Main Street so that we come to them and part with our money, food or household items — these all go straight to the River Falls Community Food Pantry.

Over the years — decades now — Carter and German have delivered dozens of truckloads of supplies and tens of thousands of dollars to our local food pantry. They carry on their food-drive with modesty, humor and good cheer — that's why they inspire such generosity in River Falls.

We hope the giving spirit in River Falls continues this month as scores of Salvation Army volunteers — many your friends and neighbors — ring their bells at Dick's, Family Fresh and ShopKo storefronts.

Pierce County Salvation Army donations have dropped in recent years. Sometimes wintry weather keeps people away. But there are many dedicated bell ringers who show up at their posts for two-hour shifts, hoping shoppers will drop off change, cash or checks.

As you shop locally, try not to miss them.

Another opportunity to help locally this time of year is the Sharing Families Project.

Led by an independent board of directors and based at the River Falls Journal, this nearly 30-year-old program helps 50 families in the River Falls School District each holiday season.

Sharing Families aims to lift the burden and spirits of these families by providing warm winter clothing, food, toys and other holiday gifts to families in need.

The heart of the program is the generous people — sometimes families, sometimes work groups — who volunteer to “adopt” a family.

A primary goal is to provide gifts for the children, but most donors agree that helping the parents with daily needs also helps the kids. And besides it's nice to give something extra to an overburdened adult.

As you give thanks for what you have, please think of those who have much less and consider sponsoring a family, a couple of children or an adult through this program.

Sharing Families is an IRS-approved 501c3 organization, and all contributions are tax deductible. To see how you can help, email rfsharingfamilies@gmail.com or call 715-426-1054.

This editorial was originally printed in the Dec. 1 print edition of the River Falls Journal.

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