Holiday spirit shines through

The outpouring of generosity in response to the Mail Tribune's annual Light One Candle series never fails to put us in a holiday mood, and this year was no exception. It was especially gratifying to see the quick reaction from readers when the wrap-up story on Christmas Day noted that one person featured in the series had received no donations.

The 27-year-old autistic widow is struggling to survive independently and needed help with rent money and clothing. For unexplained reasons, no one offered to help her, but showered the other subjects of the stories with gifts, cash and other assistance.

When this was reported to our readers, many leapt into action. Ronda Janisch of Rogue Retreat, which provides transitional housing for the homeless, said her phone started ringing Christmas morning.

The young woman now has the cash she needs for rent as well as gifts and gift cards.

Other local residents profiled in the series received the assistance they needed, from money to pay for physical therapy and new shoes for young basketball players to hearing aids for a teenage victim of abuse.

The important thing to remember about our Light One Candle series is that it is not just about the individuals and families profiled in the newspaper. Their stories are real, but they also serve as examples of the widespread need in our community.

For every person or family profiled, dozens more also can use a helping hand, not just at this season but all year long. And when donations pour in in response to a story, the agencies collecting the largesse can distribute the excess to other families who didn't get profiled but whose needs are every bit as real.

The story of a father disabled by illness who is struggling to support his son generated such a response that Southern Oregon Goodwill was able to help six other families.

That generosity makes us proud to live in Southern Oregon. To all who contributed, our heartfelt thanks and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.

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