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GUEST COMMENTARY: Help should go to those who need it

1:16 PM, Dec. 10, 2012  |  Comments
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When I share a story regarding the plight of a homeless person or a family without food in Dodge County, I get a blank stare and a "really!" in return.

Yes, we have these issues and most citizens seldom see such conditions because we are a county of proud people and those in serious need seldom seek a hand-out or may feel too ashamed to ask for help.

In law enforcement we see these situations regularly as we are the point of contact for Salvation Army vouchers, fuel assistance and other forms aid.

There are some who take advantage of the aid fully knowing they are taking something which could go to a family in greater need. It just seems those in dire straights feel too humiliated to ask and compete with those who are very open and proud of the fact they are getting a handout and even gloat about it. We are challenged to truly identify those with the greatest need.

It is the holiday season and there will be tremendous giving by numerous individuals and organizations. We are blessed in Dodge County because we have those who unselfishly give to those in need. Yet, with all the giving, I still think we are not getting the need to those who I classify as "essential" due to our inability to truly identify who they are and where they live. Secondly, do we provide the right aid, the essential items people need? We are great at buying toys and other items for children to ensure they have a great Christmas, but how important is the toy if the same child cannot be fed?

In my 25 years of delivering food baskets I see more toys, bigger flat screens and nicer cars at these homes than I have. It is not my place to judge, but I know there are those who are in greater need but do not ask. Again, our challenge is to identify them.

Law Enforcement does Shop With Cops to allow the children to purchase an inexpensive gift for mom, dad, brother or sister, as well as get a good meal and, most importantly, establish a relationship with an officer. These children learn about giving and receiving, that is not necessarily the price of the gift, but the thought behind it. This is a very rewarding and emotional event for both child and law enforcement officer.

My Christmas wish is the hope we work hard to identify those with an essential need, those who need food in the fridge, gas in the car, formula for the baby, fuel for the furnace, or just some compassion from somebody who understands their plight and cares.

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