At this time of the year many of us stop to take stock of what we are thankful for in our lives. One of the many things we can all be thankful for is that we live in this beautiful part of Pennsylvania, surrounded not only with the beauty of nature, but with the many groups who give of their time and talents. There are wonderful church groups and organizations that shine with the beautiful spirit of giving and volunteerism that make our communities such wonderful places in which to live. They make life better for so many in our communities and beyond.

We have highlighted some of these organizations in years past in our Community of Giving magazine in the Jeffersonian Democrat and our sister newspapers but we know there are many more such groups – both large and small – who always seem to be doing something for others. We are asking you, our readers, to help us find these wonderful groups so that we may share their story and through the telling hopefully inspire others to get involved, to volunteer, or to just reach out and help a neighbor.

You may think about “Aunt Sally,” who is part of a group that quilts and donates the finished product for others, such as a homeless shelter or victims of abuse or babies in a hospital. If you hesitate because, well, “Aunt Sally’s” group is just a few women who get together, please don’t. It’s groups like “Aunt Sally’s” that we are looking for. “Aunt Sally’s” group would be a wonderful example of the type of groups we’re looking for.

If you know of a church group or local organization that helps out in some way in the community or region, we’d love to hear about them. Examples of groups could include quilters who meet to sew baby quilts for the Neonatal Unit at Penn Highlands DuBois or a group that holds free lunches so anyone and everyone can get a meal, or a group that provides a Thanksgiving dinner for those who are alone for the holidays and for families that cannot afford a holiday dinner, or maybe it’s an organization whose volunteers strive to beautify their community with an abundance of flowers. There are groups that make sure our highways or trails are kept clean for all to use and some who sew caps for those undergoing chemotherapy or make teddy bears for children in the hospital and so forth.

This is just a very, very short list of the multitude of ways in which our communities are made better through the efforts of those living here. We know about these wonderful people because they are our neighbors, friends and family.

So please help us to focus on all the good that is being done in our rural communities. If you know of a group of people or a local organization that is helping to make your community a better place with their efforts, please let us know. Email me at with some information about the group/organization such as where and when they meet and a contact person.

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