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Majors Kelly and Regina Durant took over leadership of the Prince William Corps of the Salvation Army earlier this year. PROVIDED

OK, we get it. 2020. Has. Been. A. Year.

A pandemic. Civil rights protests. Closed schools. A disputed, hotly contested presidential election. Shutdown businesses. Hurricanes. Wildfires. Murder hornets.

But through it all, we have much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving. We have the world’s best scientists, who seem poised to roll out an effective vaccine against COVID-19. We have the world’s best democracy that, although challenged, was expertly designed by our founding fathers to avoid placing too much power in one institution. We have dedicated teachers and creative business leaders who have kept our students learning and our economy chugging along through difficult times.

And we have scores of local organizations and thousands of local volunteers who have stepped up to help struggling local businesses and families through the pandemic. We have chronicled the stories of many of those organizations and efforts in the pages of this newspaper this year and on our website. We thank them all.

But as we enter the winter and the holiday season, we must continue to remember those who are less fortunate than us. Despite the wealth in this community, we have neighbors who are homeless, who have lost their jobs during this pandemic, who are struggling with illness or disability. We have neighbors who are deciding whether to pay their electric bill or buy the smallest of holiday gifts for their children.

This is where the Prince William Corps of the Salvation Army and InsideNoVa’s Christmas Basket campaign can help. Now in its 49th year, the campaign raises money that stays right here in Prince William to help local families have a happier holiday.

And, indeed, the need is greater than ever in 2020. The corps’ new local leaders, Majors Kelly and Regina Durant, report that requests for financial assistance this year have been double what they were in 2019. For several months this spring, they provided over 200 hot meals a day. They have over 1,200 requests for “Angel Tree” presents for local children who otherwise would not receive any this holiday. And because of the pandemic, they need volunteer bell-ringers to man their ubiquitous red kettles more than ever.

The Christmas Basket campaign will help to fill those children’s stockings. It will help to keep the heat on during cold winter nights. It will help a family catch up on their rent payment or car payment so they can keep their jobs.

So as you take time this holiday weekend to relax, reflect and celebrate all we have to be thankful for, please remember those who are less fortunate. Whether you give to the Christmas Basket campaign or another charity, please help support those who are struggling to support themselves.

Thank you, and, from all of us at InsideNoVa, happy Thanksgiving!

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