Rejoice in the spirit of giving this holiday season | Editorial

I take immense delight in giving to others.

That’s not to say I don’t feel joy in receiving gifts (particularly of the small box variety), but there is something different about serving others.

According to the University of California Berkeley, giving is linked to the release of oxytocin, a hormone that induces feelings of euphoria. There are a variety of scientific studies that back up the following: giving makes us feel happy; it’s good for our health; it promotes cooperation and social connection; it evokes gratitude; and it’s contagious.

Local opportunities

Sponsor a family in need through the San Juan Island Family Resource Center’s Spirit of Giving program.

Sponsors can call the resource center and request to fund a family’s Christmas. With a $50 per person limit on present requests, a sponsor can choose how much to donate and the center will match them with a family. It’s all anonymous – donors don’t know who they’re sponsoring and recipients don’t know who helped them out. The resource center asks sponsors to contact them by Dec. 5.

Additionally, by donating your Kings receipts, SJIFRC receives 1 percent of the total. It may not sound like much, but with everyone’s help, it can be significant. The money collected is used to help fund rental, utility and emergency ferry fare assistance. You can take receipts into the office or drop them off in one of 40 donation jars located across town. Participating locations to drop off your receipts include Groovy Stuff, Mi Casita and La Authentica Mexicana. Call Cindy at 360-378-5246 for more information.

You can also give to the San Juan Island Community Foundation at, where your donation supports community funds and projects.

OPALCO recognizes that many members struggle to make ends meet on the islands, even when times are good. For this reason, and to help in times of difficulty, Project PAL was created as a vehicle for members to help others pay their electric bills. To sign up to receive financial assistance, visit

OPALCO members contribute by rounding up their electric bill each month or by making a monthly or one-time donation to the program. All monies donated go to grantees. Check the Project PAL Round Up box on your paper bill, call the office at 360-376-3500 or contact the Project PAL coordinator by email at

There is such a variety of options to lend a hand that it can seem overwhelming. Choose what makes your heart fill with elation, and rejoice in the spirit of giving.