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Keeping community spirit alive

If you haven’t heard the call for money to support community events, you must not be reading e-mail or listening to your neighbors.

We’ve always had PTA membership drives, calls for sponsorship for sports teams and the broad range of philanthropies seeking support for their worthy causes.

But because of the economic situation and, closer to home, the problems Promote La Jolla is contending with, our community seems to be on a treadmill of “Support your local (fill in the blank) drives.

It came to a head in the early summer when the possibility surfaced that the annual fireworks display might die. A young entrepreneur and a veteran community leader stepped up and, with a massive social networking campaign, raised the funds and more to keep the festivities alive.

Now, we’ve got Joe LaCava, president of the Bird Rock Community Council and the Community Planning Association, waving the banner as PLJ’s woes threaten the Seasons Greeting sign and the holiday decorations on the streetlights. He’s heading a campaign to raise $7,000 to replace the funds PLJ has anteed up in the past.

With a Web site at www.LaJollagives.org up and running, we can see that people are already answering his call. From La Jolla Kiwanis, Bob Collins and Orrin and Karen Gabsch, who all had pitched in $500 or more by press time, the effort is off to a good start.

But at the same time, there’s a quieter campaign, which Kiwanis has also come to the aid of, to help pay for upkeep of the flower baskets that brighten the Village throughout the year.

And the Town Council’s Christmas Parade Committee has to come up with an additional $24,000 or so to keep the annual event on the road.

And we can’t forget that the Kellogg Park project — the result of countless volunteer hours and monetary contributions — won’t be complete until the sculpture of J.J. the Gray Whale is paid for by donations and installed.

In our schools, the situation in our schools is a constant struggle, from teachers asking parents to fulfill “wish lists” just to get classroom supplies to foundations that are raising money to help as well.

It seems that each of these fundraisers are another sign of what’s ahead of us —needing to depend on one another to keep the things that give us a “community.”

The city and state budgets are in dire straits and are about to get worse: Witness a proposed cut of 17 percent by the mayor’s office to the city’s parks and recreation budget.

There’s no simple answer, other than sticking together and pitching in where we can. Maybe it’s a dollar here or a hour of volunteer work there. If we want a clean place to live that has the amenities that we like, we’re going to have to respond to the calls for support.

If you’re not into Christmas lights, help at your child’s school or offer to drive a senior to a doctor’s appointment. Whatever it is, it’s community spirit that our country was built on. Let’s keep it alive.