Christmas is a time of giving and reaching out to others. People from all over have others on their minds as they search for the perfect gift for their family and friends. Homeless shelters see a surge in service from local community members during this time, as does other charitable giving. When it comes to emergency preparedness, reaching out to others is just as important. Just as you might donate your time or resources to charities, working with family, friends, and neighbors in times of disaster helps strengthen them in areas in which you yourself are strong. And, as Flora Edwards once said, “In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever mood we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” Think about it. A four-legged chair is much more stable than a monopod stool. By yourself, you can get by and support yourself. But, if somebody tries to push you off your stool, they will most likely succeed. If you’re sitting on a chair and someone tries to push you off, the base underneath you is much more solid and will give you a better chance at standing your ground. The same thing goes for emergency preparedness. Working with your neighbors, friends, and family gives you a support group in which each person brings different skills and services to the table. A neighbor with a chainsaw will be a valuable asset when the next storm blows over your trees. Also, your truck can help haul away debris from your neighbor’s home. When you prepare for emergencies, think about how your preparations can help others. Your emergency food supply is more than just for disasters. Maybe your neighbor just lost his job. By having some extra food on hand, you could either invite them over for a meal to help them out, or give it to them with a smile. And who knows? Maybe the next time you have your own personal disaster, your neighbor will come to your aid. In the spirit of Christmas, take some time and visit your neighbors. Bring them cookies or a card. Thank them for their contributions to the community. Get to know them. Then, as the new year approaches, make it a goal to become acquainted with other members of your community. Building strong relationships will not just benefit your life now, but will also help you succeed when times get tough.