When you're making your holiday shopping list and setting a budget, leave a line or two and set aside a little money for charity.
The economy might be slowly improving, but many of our neighbors could still use a hand - as attested by the 6,000-plus people who lined up Monday to get a free turkey from Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.
Many groups that do good work in our community will be seeking donations this holiday season.
One way to help out is The Bee's Book of Dreams, going strong for a quarter century. The first chapters appeared in Wednesday's Bee, and they were as heartwarming and inspirational as ever.
Abby Franklin, born prematurely, is 18 now, a quadriplegic hoping for a specially designed bicycle to replace the decade-old one that is held together with duct tape.
Cole Odenweller, 15, would like a new special-needs bicycle, as well. He's outgrown his, and pedaling helps him maintain leg strength that is a constant struggle with his neurodegenerative disorder.
The Sacramento Food Bank is seeking donations to provide "Daddy's tool bags" - baby supplies, educational materials and toiletries - to draw new fathers into its parenting program.
Even during hard times, the Sacramento region has proved its generosity. In the last Book of Dreams, in fact, Bee readers contributed more than $205,000 - a record total that made 14 "dreams" come true.
In all, grants went to 19 groups in the region, including the Kiwanis Family House, which comforts families of critically ill patients at UC Davis Medical Center; Gramma's Hugs International, which sends blankets to orphanages in Africa and disaster victims around the globe; Senior Gleaners, which harvests fruits and vegetables for food banks; and Roseville Home Start, a transitional housing and education program for homeless families. An additional $57,400 went to food banks.
We have many blessings to be thankful for today. One of them is that we can share some of our bounty with others.
Want to help?
Go to www.sacbee.com/bookofdreams, or call (916) 556-5667.