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We are approaching a time of year where giving opportunities might be greater than any other on the calendar

Small communities like Prineville rely on a community spirit and pride that encourages its residents to support one another with their free time and their resources. Covering numerous events throughout the year, it doesn't take long to witness it in action — dozens of people volunteering to ensure events have the manpower to enjoy success, folks displaying their sometimes astounding generosity, donating money and goods or services to a host of causes that pop in the community year after year.

There isn't a time during the year where this community spirit and pride isn't essential, but we are approaching a time of year where the opportunities might be greater than any other on the calendar. This weekend marks the kickoff to the holiday season in Crook County -- Saturday might as well be dubbed "Christmas Saturday" because of all the events planned that day. It starts with Santa's Workshop, segues into Small Business Saturday, the Lighted Christmas Parade, and the holiday launch of the Christmas in the Pines drive-thru display and the Grimes Christmas Scene.

Opportunities to give back to the community abound. Small Business Saturday, with a focus of shopping locally for Christmas gifts, reminds us to support the businesses and their owners who call Crook County home. The temptation is certainly great to shop online or make a trip to the big box stores, but that does nothing for community vitality — shopping local does.

Chances to give to a variety of causes await in the days and weeks ahead. The Holiday Partnership, which provides food boxes and Christmas gifts to families in need, is already under way with food boxes and Trees of Joy await willing donors. Giving to this cause again support the community and the people who call it home.

The St. Charles Hospice Christmas Auction, another chance to donate to a local cause, is less than two weeks away. This event arguably stands as the top example of the community's generosity as bids for special Christmas trees and quilts push the total money raised beyond $100,000 in a single night.

Joining the established fundraising efforts is an opportunity to donate while enjoying one of Prineville's unique holiday traditions. Christmas in the Pines is free to attend, but visitors are encouraged to either donate food, which goes to the local food bank or pet food, which is collected for the local humane society. Cash donations, which are also encouraged, also support people in need.

So, we encourage people to take advantage of the plentiful opportunities to support the Crook County community this holiday season. Show that community pride and holiday spirit and help us thrive.

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