I was talking to a friend recently about charity and welfare. Both charity and welfare have an important place in American society. In some cases they can be life saving.

I was talking to a friend recently about charity and welfare. Both charity and welfare have an important place in American society. In some cases they can be life saving.
However, we agreed that the success of welfare is having less of it. If a person or family gets public help, the success of it is when the person or family no longer needs it.
I have always thought that some people are just one pay check away from total poverty or just one paycheck away from standing on their own feet. I still believe if a family could come up with an extra paycheck for one month somehow they could get caught up on their bills, buy their kids much needed new shoes or pay for a tank of gasoline to get through the week.
We can all hope that families who are in this situation will get a small windfall and know how to use it in the wisest way. Maybe next year there will be fewer families who need food or Christmas gifts because they have gotten a lift up some place.
A FACEBOOK notice came last week from a cousin in Minnesota which caught my attention. A vast majority of the cousins are either farmers or grew up on a farm. The notice read:
"BREAKING NEWS: There will be NO farms closed due to the upcoming blizzard. Each and every farmer will be out in the blistery, cold, blowing wind and heavy snow tending to their livestock. They will be praying for machinery to work and non-frozen water pipes. If you know or LOVE a farmer, say a prayer for him or her."
This reminds me that we lost a great farmer last week. Jimmy Russell had devoted his life to agriculture and to his family. He and his wife, Loretta, either had or adopted 10 children and helped raise 36 foster children.
A couple of years ago, all these children came home for Thanksgiving. Imagine, if you can, what a wonderful, joyous time that must have been.
Jimmy had been a servant to agriculture for many years, serving on nearly every farm or ranch organization in the county. He was well-know and loved by 4-H kids and leaders and admired by everyone involved in extension work.
Jimmy got his education at Texas Tech and the University of Arizona. When he came to Neosho in 1959, he went to work for New-Mac Electric and worked with many farmers, ranchers and rural business people.
Once in a while, Jimmy would call with a bit of news or a question and both Russell and I enjoyed those little talks. He is an example of the good people who feed Americans and many around the world. Let's not forget the hardworking farmers and ranchers who do not get to shut down the farm when cold winds, icy roads and a big snow falls. They just button up the heavy coats and go out to get the chores done.



Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.