As we dive headlong into the upcoming holiday season, it’s easy to get distracted in consumer greed and materialism and forget that the simplistic but profound message of the season is charity and love.

In his Christmas Eve homily last year, Pope Francis explained, “An insatiable greed marks all human history even today, when paradoxically a few dine luxuriantly while all too many go without the daily bread needed to survive.”

Fortunately, there are many ways to help those in need locally this holiday, starting with the 24th annual Thanksgiving Walk of Awareness for the ACCESS Soup Kitchen and Men’s Shelter on Thursday.

The walk, which helps fund food, supplies, shelter and services, is a yearly tradition in the capital city and steps off at 8:30 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 211 Washington St. Registration is $20 and more information is available on the group’s Facebook page.

Another worthy cause is Mayor Bill May and his wife, Jenny’s, Coats for Kids. For more than three decades, the couple — with the help of the community — has been providing 500-1,000 warm winter coats, which can cost upward of $20,000, for local children each year.

Those wishing to donate to the May's cause, should make checks payable to Coats for Kids and mail to 1121 Collins Lane, Frankfort, Kentucky, 40601-4307.

There are other ways to help those less fortunate. Carry a few extra bucks and make donations to The Salvation Army any time you see the signature bright red kettles. Or, better yet, pick up an angel or food angel off The Salvation Army’s Angel Trees and help make Christmas for an area child or family. The Rotary Club of Frankfort is collecting new shoes to give to underprivileged schoolchildren.

For those who are monetarily strapped, give your time to a cause close to your heart — foster a pet from the Franklin County Humane Society or volunteer at your child’s school.

Together, we can make the season more about giving and less about receiving.

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