Gifts of love

Valentine’s Day is largely considered a day for sweethearts and those ‘in love.’ Only in elementary school does it seem to be OK to offer a casual friend a Valentine. Yet, this Hallmark holiday does present alternative ways to express love.  It gives us a risk-free way to tell others that we care about them — that they are special to us. And who does not want to know that?  In the guise of the day, we can avoid any appearance of being overly sentimental or creepy.  Instead, we can be creative or corny but also sincere.

Others show they care using actions rather than words. Beyond the people who gave generously to Mercer Island Youth and Family Services at the Giving from the Heart Breakfast this morning, there are others in the community who will give all day. Once again, ten generous Mercer Island businesses have agreed to give 20 percent of the money they make today to Mercer Island Youth and Family Services for “Giving from the Heart” day.

These Island businesses are Autospa, Freshy’s, Yogabliss, C. Michelle, Tatters, Yo Mercer, the South Mercer Chevron, Studio 904, Island Books and Stopsky’s.

This money will go directly to MIYFS, our city’s organization which supports a food bank, mental health counselors in the schools, support for seniors, teen volunteer programs and our community drug prevention efforts. Like the many Island businesses and institutions who are part of charitable ventures all year long — these ten make it plain that they are not just here to make money — but to be part of this community.

For them and others, the sentiments of Valentine’s Day go far beyond romantic love — to expressions of love and caring for people they do not even know. So many struggle with issues that may not even be apparent. Even if we do not see, we know, because each one of us at one time or another has dealt with such challenges. No one is immune from sadness or despair while trying to cope with tragedy or circumstance.  We or someone we love will need help or assistance. And that help offers hope and yes, love, to all in our community.


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