It started about three weeks ago, and now, there is a steady stream into the mailbox. Holiday catalogs! It's hard not to look through them, but who needs more stuff?

Most of us don't need more stuff, we need more joy. I have a plan that will make that happen for you this holiday season. Give where you live.

There are plenty of places to spread some happiness in Clinton County. I have a gift box full of ways you can help a neighbor, someone you recognize from Little League or pass on a Clinton County street. That's the great thing about a community foundation and being focused on the important, the people right here in Clinton County.

Here we go: Did you know that when Clinton County teachers were asked what they needed in their classrooms this year, many replied, give me some laundry detergent, some hand soap, and shampoo. Not crayons, not fancy notebooks with three zippered pockets or hand-sanitizer. Believe me when I tell you that kids go to school in filthy clothes and they haven't had a bath or seen a toothbrush in months. That's a fact.

One of our funds, the United Way will help you spread some joy through a school project that supports teachers or other charitable groups they serve. The truth is that this organization like many, suffered when we went into the 2008 depression. The United Way and their agency partners have had a hard time making ends meet for all the good that they do--and they do so much.

Let's finish that Little Hearts Big Smiles Park, the group needs one more great piece of equipment and they have a challenge grant--so any gift you give them brings them closer to fulfilling this dream: a place where all children, no matter what their capacity, no matter what their family's background, can burn off energy, be in the great outdoors and slide down a slide.

Add an extra something to the new Skatepark--we have a lot of kids that need a healthy outlet and this is one. Talk about healthy! The Clinton County Council needs more computers, they need volunteers and they need your gifts to serve kids a healthy snack before they head home--many of these kids do not have a role model or a purpose. CCYC gives them direction and tutoring. That would be a great way to fill your joy bucket!

What happens when Medicare runs out for some Clinton County patients in August and September? They need their meds--they aren't faking diabetes or heart problems. Our HealthFirst Foundation comes to the rescue of those in need. Gifts to this program would improve the quality of life for people who can't afford to live without medication and can't afford to pay out of pocket.

Are we sick of the Murphy Theatre's scaffolding? They are safeguarding our noggins--but it's a tunnel into their front door. Let's get them the funds they need to pull down the scaffolding.

If our winter is as cold and bitter as our autumn was mild, we need to help families with food and shelter. Give to the Clinton County Foundation and we will ensure that those great organizations like Habitat for Humanity, the Homeless Shelter, or Our Father's Kitchen are supported.

This year our Foundation has made a commitment to help you find some joy. We have the 2016 Clinton County Holiday Gift Catalog--and its all about giving to our neighbors, our friends and the great charitable organizations that serve our community. You want some joy? Go to the Holiday Gift Catalog on November 28 and make someone happy, including yourself, knowing that you did good., click on the donate button, to search for some joy, or give the Clinton County Foundation and we will enure that your gift is well spent.

You can make a gift in memory or honor of someone, the Foundation will send your recipient a card sharing that they have been "gifted" at the Clinton County Foundation and your gift is supporting OUR Clinton County. What more could you want for happiness?

Our County has had a real tough recovery. We are coming back and I expect that 2017 will be better. Let's make a commitment to spread some happiness, knowing that there are still folks here in Clinton County that could use your helping hand. Do good, be the good. Give where you live.

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