The snow falling outside helped paint a wonderful Christmas portrait of what the holiday is all about — neighbors helping neighbors make sure all will not go hungry as winter arrives.

“Look at the beautiful snow! Look! Look!”

That was the reaction of a young girl, 15 years old to be exact, who moved to the Neosho area from Louisiana.

As large snowflakes tumbled from the gray sky above, the smile on her face stretched from ear to ear.

“That is amazing. I am so excited,” she said, jumping up and down like a typical teenage girl.

It was a little before noon Saturday, and the girl was standing in line at the former Armory building with her family picking up a grocery cart full of food to be taken home as part of the annual Newton County Food Basket Brigade.

“Thank you so much,” she said after Abe Paul, who was working the loading station with me, and myself boxed up her food. “Thank you! Thank you!”

The snow falling outside helped paint a wonderful Christmas portrait of what the holiday is all about in Neosho — neighbors helping neighbors make sure all will not go hungry as winter arrives.

Once again, the Newton County Food Basket Brigade did what it set out to do — give thousands of residents enough food for a Christmas dinner and two weeks of staples for the pantry.

This year was no different. Those who received the goods were extremely appreciative of the gifts they had been given.

I never once heard someone complain about the brand of food they received, or the quality or quantity.

All I ever heard were people giving words of thanks and praise to the volunteers who guided through their line, helped load their carts, or were there to box their goods and take them to their car.

“This is so wonderful,” one elderly person said. “How do they afford to do all of this?”

That answer is simple: Only through the generosity of the community can the organizers of the Newton County Food Basket Brigade afford to feed the amount of people they do. The giving spirit of residents, businesses, and industries makes sure the brigade reaches its goal year, after year, after year.

And every year, because of the gifts given to the masses, young girls like the one who recently moved from Louisiana can be overheard saying, “I think this is awesome.”

Me, too.

Rick Rogers is the publisher of The Neosho Daily News. His “On the Record” column publishes on Sundays. E-mail him at rrogers@neoshodaily news.com