“What kind of community is Ada?”

That’s a common question asked by newcomers and those passing through the city en route to other destinations.

Cities can be rated in various way — unemployment rates, per capita income, percentage of college graduates. But any sort of ranking of the best places to live — by nature — is subjective.

Nevertheless, there is one significant characteristic that separates the so-so cities from those whose residents are proud to call their towns home: An effort to help those down on their luck.

Certainly, this time of year promotes the so-called “holiday spirit.”

Recently, the Human Resources Club at East Central University hosted its annual “Community Thanksgiving.” More than 3,000 area residents were fed, while community bonds were being strengthened, perhaps new friendship made.

Other “holiday” events are on this month’s slate. Some will provide food, clothing or gifts for families and children who can use a little extra help.

While recipients appreciate the items, for sure, those who help make it possible find the old Bible verse to be true: It is more blessed to give than receive. Could it be that therein lies the meaning of life?

Fact is Ada faces some of the same challenges as other communities its size: affordable housing, health care, higher-paying jobs, illegal drug activity. But possible solutions are being sought thanks to teamwork and coordination between city, state and tribal leaders; educational, business and medical partners, civic and religious groups and individuals.

One resident summed it up recently: “Ada has a heart and soul. Instead of turning its back on our family during a recent crisis, it responded in our time of need. That’s why I’m proud to call it home.”

Sure, Adans are during their thing during the holiday season. But most residents look out for one another the other 10 months of the year, too.

In this era of the World Wide Web and instant gratification, most who live in Ada are proud of their hometown, proud that they can share food, gifts — and even more important — old-fashioned family values this holiday season.

Yes, Ada does have soul and a whole lot of heart — not just in November and December but throughout the year.

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