Spirit Of the Season Awaits Downtown

Take a stroll along our downtown streets Friday, and you’ll find yourself right there with Father Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge, the Ghosts of Christmas Pastand Christmas Future, Jacob Marley, London bobbies and the Cratchit family with Tiny Tim as part of the 22nd annual Dickens Holiday in what has become a community holiday tradition. “There will be a lighting of the community holiday tree located at the corner of Hay Street and Maxwell Street at 6 p.m. along with singing of carols,” says Bob Pinson, interim president and chief executive officer of the Arts Council of Fayetteville-Cumberland County. And don’t forget the downtown merchants, who will be opening their businesses for your holiday shopping pleasure with everything from unique handcrafted holiday trinkets, treats and treasurescreated by local artisans and crafters. A Dickens Holiday kicks off at 1 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m., and be assured, it will put you and your family in the spirit of the season.

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            Kudos to those young folks who braved the cold as volunteers on Nov. 20 to assist those at an Electronic Waste Drive in the parking lot of the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse. The event was sponsored by Cumberland County, the city of Fayetteville and Sustainable Sandhills, and these young volunteers were simply fabulous helping folks unload everything from old televisions to computers to vacuum cleaners from vehicles. Those young volunteers certainly made Amanda Bader, director for the county’s Solid Waste Management, proud.

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            “She always said, ‘Find a way. Find a resource. Don’t look for a way to say no. Look for a way to say yes,’” Amy Navejas, executive director for Better Health, reminded us about her predecessor, the late Judy Klinck, at the CityView Power of Giving Community Impact Awards ceremony held Nov. 16 at Segra Stadium. Other recipients were Steve Milburn, Kim Molnar and Pornjai Smith. The event was presented by the Fayetteville Public Works Commission. Judy Klinck died at age 73 on June 26, 2021.

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            “I have to give back,” Steve Milburn, owner of The UPS Store in Westwood Shopping Center, told the CityView Power of Giving Community Impact Awards audience in accepting his award. “I feel it’s my duty. When I do something for someone, it gives me great joy. I’m going to keep on plugging to help others.”

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            “It means a lot to me that somebody understands what we are doing,” Kim Molnar said about being a recipient of the CityView Power of Giving Community Impact Award. “That we’re doing something right.” Molnar and her husband, Karl, are co-founders of Miller’s Crew, a nonprofit inspired by their son, Miller, who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. You’ll now find vocational training labs in area high schools, where students are learning to manage food services of their own and manning their own food trucks, too.

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            If you can give of yourself, there may be no greater calling. That’s the advice you’ll hear if you give a listen to Pornjai Smith, who owns PJ Thai Cuisine across from the Judge E. Maurice Braswell Cumberland County Courthouse. Nobody goes hungry at her restaurant, including those who are down and out and can’t pay their way or need a helping hand. “If you can help people, help them,” she says about receiving the CityView Power of Giving Community Impact Award. “I strongly believe in God, and I give.”

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            “We want all eligible citizens to get fully vaccinated before the Thanksgiving holiday,” Dr. Jennifer Green, Cumberland County Public Health director, says in a recent news release “We will offer Pfizer boosters at all of our vaccination locations. Please bring an unvaccinated friend or family member when you come for your booster.”

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            “While this is a special cherished time for our entire country, Thanksgiving has special meaning here at Highland, where we will again be responding to God’s generosity to us by sharing Thanksgiving meals with 2,000-plus people in need Thursday,” says the Rev. Chip Stapleton, senior pastor at Highland Presbyterian Church on Haymount Hill. You can help by sponsoring a turkey or donating a pie. “Let’s make this a great Thanksgiving for all of us.”

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at bkirby@cityviewnc.com, billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961