The true spirit of Thanksgiving is providing for those less fortunate |

The true spirit of Thanksgiving is providing for those less fortunate

Park City has worked hard to earn its rank among the top resort cities in the world and it lives up to that reputation year ’round. But those who are lucky enough to live where most people dream of vacationing, must also remember that, like any metropolis, there are pockets of poverty tucked among the ritzy hotels, swank subdivisions and gourmet restaurants.

According to the most recent statistics available from the U.S. Census Bureau, 1,898 Summit County residents were living at or below the national poverty level in 2003, of those 667 were children. That number, like the county’s population overall, has likely increased in the last three years.

Compared to big cities, the number of people in Summit County who meet the hardship guidelines set by the federal government, may seem small but, in 2003 it represented 5.6 percent of the population. And, there were probably many who were not counted.

On Tuesday as many Parkites crowded the local markets to stock up for the big feast on Thursday, there was also a line at the local food pantry on Ironhorse Drive. Volunteers were busy handing out canned and baked goods but the food seemed to be leaving the shelves as fast, if not faster than it was being stocked.

It was a good reminder that Park City isn’t just made up of extravagant mansions and five-star hotels. It is also a city facing all of the challenges that go with growth, with a high cost of living and a voracious appetite for seasonal laborers.

The hustle and bustle at the food pantry was also a wonderful example of how local volunteers respond when there is a need. Donations of furniture and clothing for the Christian Center’s Thrift Store and food for the pantry were arriving by the pick-up truck full while across the parking area, volunteer nurses and physicians were also busy at the People’s Health Center, which serves the area’s uninsured.

It is a source of pride that Park City measures its success, not only by the accolades it gets in glossy magazines, but also by the way it cares for those in need.

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the ski season but it is also a time when families traditionally make a commitment to share the bounty of our community’s success with those who are less fortunate. That is what really makes Park City world-class.

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