For nearly a quarter-century, the Journal Star has worked with Lincoln-area human services agencies to bring a happier holiday season to those in need in our community through the Thanks for Giving project.

The stories are rarely the same. This year, we had requests from a refugee family of 10 who ended up in Nebraska after the father was tortured under Saddam Hussein, a family with mounting medical bills who fear they may lose their home, women and children who left abusive relationships with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Despite the different circumstances that led to their stories being printed in Wednesday’s Journal Star, one thing unites all of them: They’re in need of assistance during the season of giving.

And that’s where our readers come in. Since the Thanks for Giving campaign began 1983, you’ve helped ensure those who are less fortunate can get the necessities they lack and give deserving children something special for the holidays. Countless local residents have benefited from the donations made to the charities that nominated them — and, with your help, we hope they will once again this year. See how at journalstar.com/giving.

Thanks for Giving has evolved in the last 34 years. Need in the Lincoln area, however, has remained constant. As long as it exists, we’ll be running this program to ensure as many local residents of all ages can receive assistance this winter.

Just within the first few days of this year’s appeal, at least one man’s need has been fulfilled.

A disabled veteran with a mental illness who lives on a fixed income needed a bus pass as he sought to reintegrate into the community. The agency that passed his story onto the Journal Star already said they’ve already been overwhelmed by donations for this man.

His story won’t be the only one with a happy ending — but it takes help from a giving community to make these happen.

You’ll notice that many of the requests aren’t extravagant. A man who long was homeless needs bedding. A woman breaking the chains of addiction needs kitchenware. A single mother battling unforeseen health problems needs gas and grocery cards. A former foster teen who doesn’t own a car needs a tune-up for his bike. Several parents would like small Christmas gifts and clothes for their children.

From our perspective as a newspaper, we see this program as the least we can do to help our community. Day in and day out, we do our best to provide readers a public service — and this annual campaign is an extension of that desire to help make Lincoln and southeast Nebraska a better place.

Without your generosity, though, Thanks for Giving wouldn’t be possible. We encourage those who can to donate to do so to brighten the holidays for local residents need.

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