Sharing the bounty

Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday. A time of sharing and caring about those less fortunate. This year, as in years past millions of turkey dinners will be served around the nation by volunteer organizations to those in need. If you've ever been a part of this kind of service to your fellow man, it's a good feeling. But when the day is over and you go home to your secure home, family and friends, did you ever ask yourself where do all those people go that don't have a home and family - let alone a roof over their heads?

For a fortunate few that are intelligent enough, then have enough guts to ask, they can receive the help they need. Some even manage to pull themselves up, find work and get out of the streets. Then there are the very indigent uneducated poor who cannot help themselves. Years ago we used to lock them away in mental institutions. There they at least had food and shelter. When the laws regarding who you could institutionalize changed, many of those individuals who saw that institution as home are now doomed to a life on the streets.

And what of the animals we share our earth home with? Are we doing any better working with an over population of animals that no one seems to want? Just as with humans, I guess the measure is the quality of our volunteer organizations we form and the laws we pass.

I recently spent a weekend in St Charles, Mo. Being the typical tourist, I picked up the tourism magazine ''Missouri Life.'' One of the feature stories was about a husband and wife team that almost single-handedly run An emergency animal rescue service called M'Shoogys. M'Shoogy is Yiddish for crazy. ''Maybe crazy in some peoples eyes, but not in the eyes of the abused and abandoned animals that once again can look at a human with fond affection'' says Gary Silverglat, owner- operator.

With individual donations and very little corporate funding, Gary and his wife feed, on the average, 600 dogs, several wild animals, dozens of cats, three Belgian horses and a few birds. None are euthanized. He's quoted in the article as saying '' If kids are mistreated or injured, they go to foster homes. Animals should be sacred too. There shouldn't be a double standard. As long as the animals aren't in pain, there is no reason to kill them. Anyone can kill, it takes greater responsibility to save a life.''

Through a phone lobbying campaign, the Silverglats have helped rewrite Missouri law, making it a misdemeanor for people to dump or move, leaving an animal behind with no one to care for it. They won another battle when St. Joseph adopted an ordinance requiring permits to breed domestic animals and punishing irresponsible domestic animal breeders.

Want to make a difference here in your own back yard? The Knox County Humane Society and Shelter always needs volunteers and your monetary support.

We have a new way for you to show your support here in Galesburg. Erin Buckmaster has opened a small thrift and gift shop at 35 S. Cherry St., The Pick of the Litter, featuring gently used, quality merchandise at affordable prices. They sell-- as well as accept-- donations of men's, women's and children's clothing, and household and collectible items. Second-hand shopping is a wonderful way to be earth friendly. Proceeds go to support and shelter homeless animals as winter approaches. Share your bounty this holiday season with the less fortunate animals of Knox County.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Till next time, Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online November 17, 1999

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