Some people clean windows each fall. Some clean kitchen cupboards. Some clean closets.
Two of these tasks can do more good than you'll ever imagine.
You see, it's time for Operation Christmas to set down roots again. This happens every November, and when it happens, 450 Webster County families benefit.
Operation Christmas takes the names of families who need a little help to make it through the holidays and offers those families free clothing, household goods, holiday decorations - anything to give them a boost.
This all comes from generous people who have good stuff lying around and are willing to share. It just makes sense, so people give. And giving is a good thing.
Not to take anything away from the joy of giving, but these donations are tax deductible.
Operation Christmas is a Church Women United project. Volunteers "take applications and fill boxes according to the needs and size of the family," wrote organizers in the annual request letter.
Ruth Reed and Gwen Anderson are again at the head of Operation Christmas, but both insist it's the volunteers who make the program work.
The program will set up at the Crossroads Mall in the former Hancock Fabrics space near Sears. Starting Nov. 19, doors will be open for donations from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Early donations are best because it give volunteers time to get everything on display. Then, when families come in to sign up for the Christmas boxes, they are allowed to take whatever they can use from this collection.
It's an unfortunate fact that this could be the one day in the year that families can get "new" clothes or household items. So, what's tucked away in your closet or cupboard could be a godsend to someone else.
Cleaning with this in mind makes it easier to dispose of that great casserole dish you haven't used in three years but is too good to just throw away. Not to mention that gorgeous sweater that matches nothing in your wardrobe.
This is the time of year for generosity.
Items needed are clean, warm clothing for adults and children, but no summer clothing, plus new and gently used toys and games, canned and packaged foods, sheets, blankets, towels, artificial Christmas trees and decorations. Adult boots, sneakers and bedroom slippers in good condition will be accepted. Also, dishes, pots and pans, small appliances and other household items.
Clothing will be accepted until Dec. 11, and the next day any clothing left is given to other organizations.
Operation Christmas will open for applications on the Monday following Thanksgiving, which is Dec. 2, and will close Dec. 13, or when 450 families have signed up. Organizers work with other programs to make sure all families who need help get help.
Money is needed too and may be mailed at any time to Operation Christmas, P.O. Box 278, Fort Dodge, IA 50501, or donated on site at the Mall.
The phone number, 576-1549, is good after Nov. 18.
So, clean now. Donate, and make it count.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Sandy Mickelson, former lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.