At about this time every year, the pages of this newspaper become packed with stories, some short and some long, about local people, organizations and businesses that help the less fortunate during the holidays. During the next few weeks we expect to carry dozens of articles about such campaigns.
Out-of-work breadwinners will receive all the "fixin's" for delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Families down on their luck will get help keeping heat on in their homes.
Children, some old enough to have noticed the anguish mom and dad go through in trying to keep the bills paid, will find that Santa Claus somehow did manage to bring a few toys for Christmas.
Teenagers shivering in the cold because they don't have decent winter coats will be provided with them.
Literally thousands of times during the coming month or so, wonderful deeds of compassion will occur throughout our area.
Thursday is Thanksgiving, an occasion on which we Americans traditionally pause to express our gratitude for the many blessings we enjoy. One of them is the area in which we live or, more specifically, our wonderful neighbors.
Throughout the year we carry stories of compassion. They range from anonymous donors who come up with large sums to fund big charitable projects to accounts of schoolchildren saving their nickels and dimes to help classmates. They include reports of good Samaritans saving people they don't even know from crashed vehicles and volunteer firefighters risking their lives to rescue people from blazing infernos. So common are acts of compassion we would not be surprised if, distributed throughout the year, one a day could be reported.
Especially during the Thanksgiving-Christmas season, there are more of them, of course. The hearts of area residents open wide at this time of year and so do their wallets.
As a nation, we Americans have a reputation worldwide for helping the less fortunate. But we know of no other area in which concern for others is a way of life as it is here.
Today, then, one of our greatest blessings is all around us: our neighbors right here in this area. They are a gift for which we can be truly grateful.