Rudolph dances with a young friend at the Town of Hilton Head Island’s official Christmas Tree Lighting festivities Nov. 20 at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.

This holiday season I hope that each of us will take time to remember how blessed we are and, if possible, give to those who are less fortunate.

In the past 20 months, we have faced one of the greatest public health crises in modern history. It was a tough time, but we’ve all learned to be a little more civil towards each other and I am happy for that.

COVID-19 affected our lives in many ways. As we continue to battle this crisis, we are learning how to deal with it better so we can resume some normalcy in our lives. That is a blessing. However, I encourage you to remain vigilant of COVID-19 throughout the holidays and be safe.

During the holidays, my hope is that you will take time to enjoy the blessing of family and friends. Think of ways to reach out and help others in need. We are blessed to live in paradise. But after what we have been through, there are many residents who need a little help and some holiday cheer.

There are many opportunities this holiday season to give back.

Our Fire Rescue Department is hosting a toy drive at Station 3, which is always beautifully decorated for the holidays. Toys for children 12 and under are needed. If you have a chance to visit the station – right off William Hilton Parkway – to see the spectacular lights, be sure to drop off a new, unwrapped toy for a child.

All around Town you will find many businesses and groups collecting toys and food for some of the island’s charities like the Deep Will Project, Second Helpings and the Sandlewood Food Pantry. These organizations do a phenomenal job year-round taking care of those who need help with rent, food, clothes and other needs. They rely on donations from those of us who are able to contribute to their campaigns.

As a town, we too are doing what we can to support our community. We had the good fortune recently to receive $ 5,227,178 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, the federal government’s legislation that provides funding to help local governments respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Of that, we earmarked $1 million to address healthcare, housing assistance, childcare and education, rent and utility assistance, food insecurity and other negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency. We are working with the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry to grant those funds to organizations helping residents in our community.

I wish each of you a safe and happy holiday season – Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Kwanzaa.

John McCann is the mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island.