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Editorial: Six reasons to cheer

Today, we suspend preparations for the end of the world on Dec. 21, put aside worries about plunging over the fiscal cliff and focus on a few of the good things.

It’s a very good thing that after 22 months as a moveable feast, the Friendly Kitchen will begin serving meals out of its new home next week. The new soup kitchen holds its open house today from 4 to 7 p.m. We encourage everyone to stop by and see what a community can do when it pulls together.

The purchase of a conservation easement on Maplewood Farm is another piece in the preservation of a very good thing: publicly-accessible open space and agricultural land in the city’s west end. The 78 acres of fields long owned by the Bunten family will, when agreements are reached on neighboring properties on Stickney Hill and to the west, create a block of protected land big enough to preserve a big piece of Concord’s agricultural history and provide a lasting home for wildlife.

It’s a bad thing that a thief stole the lights right off the town Christmas tree that Boscawen Fire Chief Ray Fisher and others decorate in the fork between Routes 3 and 4. But the community’s response is a good thing. Donations of Christmas lights poured in, and volunteers have promised to be extra vigilant to prevent the Grinch from returning or catch him if he does. If caught, the malefactor should be forced to attend a non-stop performance of the world’s worst Christmas music with, let’s say, every third song by Alvin and the Chipmunks.

It’s a good thing, as Pittsfield resident Steve Smith noted on this page yesterday, that a local company, Rustic Crust, saw a need created by Superstorm Sandy and responded to it by doing what it does best: make pizza. Employees loaded more than 1,000 pizzas in a truck, along with a wood-fired pizza oven, drove to a hard-hit area where residents were without power and fired it up. Rustic Crust’s actions, we hope, will inspire others to step in when they see an unmet need.

Speaking of setting an example, what 21-year-old Mariah Gage is doing to set an example for her young son is a good thing. Despite deaths in the family and her young son’s medical problems, the single mother is using Facebook to collect contributions for Christmas care packages for troops serving overseas and using the experience to teach the lad that giving brings more joy than receiving.

The grant that allowed the Concord Police Department to devote even more attention to its long-standing mission to prevent domestic violence is a truly good thing. Domestic violence increases when times are hard. The grant will pay the first three years of the cost of devoting one officer, in this case Christy Spaulding, a five-year department veteran, to combatting domestic violence and helping its victims. Spaulding was selected for her rapport with people and her ability to build relationships. For the sake of abuse victims, their families, and the abusers themselves, who may need help escaping what can be a cycle of abuse, we wish Spaulding the best of luck.

Now that you feel good, or at least a bit better, after reading about all these good things, we encourage you to do a good thing or two. Go to the Friendly Kitchen’s opening and make a donation to help the kitchen pay off its debt and keep serving meals. When shopping, consider putting an extra item or two on the list. The city’s homeless shelters are also sorely in need of warm winter clothing of all kinds but especially men’s winter boots in large sizes and backpacks. Lorrie Dale, director of the Salvation Army’s McKenna House, called the clothing situation “desperate.” It would be a good thing if what she really needed was space to store all the donations that come in.

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